Below is an update from People’s Emergency Center (PEC). The classes and curriculum developed at their new Young Explorer’s Lab was partially supported from a Project Stipend grant from PYMC.
Blog post written by Alexandra Jean, CDIT Instructor (Temple University Work-Study)
Our Young Explorers Lab, outfitted with specially designed Little Tykes computers, provides technology training for children ages 3-7. Instructors work with children from Montgomery Early Learning Center, Belmont Charter Academy, and Community Preschool and Nursery during the Summer of 2013.
We approach learning with a fun, kid-curriculum that includes classroom lessons for the group and individual activities at a PC workstation with IBM Young Explorers © computer software and pre-approved, online games. Our Explorers ages 6-7 years play and learn around subjects such as math, reading, and science. while younger Explorers, ages 4-5 years, are learning the basics: numbers, letters, shapes, and sizes to name a few of our topics. But, the Explorers are not the only ones learning. Teaching size for example can be a little difficult but we learned that doing group activities at the table and asking the students to come up the board to demonstrate what they know makes it easier. The kids love to encourage and help each other and we always have them give each other a round of applause once they do something right.
A typical session of Young Explorer’s starts off with introductions. We go over the names of the students usually having them say something that they enjoy
doing that starts with the first letter of their name not only so we can get to know them better but also so we can remember their names. Then we go over lab rules, and have them repeat them so they know exactly what’s expected. The first day we go over parts of the computer and then do a sticky note activity where the students place sticky notes on the different parts of a Tykes computer and a typical computer (if available). We then go over the different characters that can be found on the Kids Desk software and allow them free time to explore. We make sure to be available to give assistance but the students mostly have fun discovering on their own.
We make sure to observe what games they enjoy too, that way we can create lessons plans that engage and keep them interested.
A Day in the Lab
In General, we plan basic table activities so we can tie them into
the software games. For example, in Sammy’s Science House – the Make A Movie game is popular with the kids. As the table activity we have different squares that make up parts of a story. We have the kids gather around and we all work together to put the squares in order. Then we choose one person to tell the story of what’s happening. The squares go from two-part stories to six-part stories and make a great tie in with the make a movie activity which is all about sequencing. After we’ve solved all the stories they are allowed to play the activity on the computer. When they
want to change to another activity, they just have to ask. Sometimes they enjoy the main activity so much that they stay on it for the duration of the time they are in the lab, or they go back to it next time they visit the lab which is always great.