1

Peekaboo Child Care Website Review

 

“The Peekaboo Philosophy
Our philosophy of care focuses on the whole child.

  • We believe the early years of life build a framework for lifelong learning.
  • We believe in the dignity and value of all children.
  • We believe that social and intellectual skills are best learned in an environment where self-esteem is nurtured and respect is absolute.
  • We believe that children learn best through active exploration, experimentation and problem solving in a safe and stimulating setting.” (Peekaboo. 2013)

The  Peekaboo Child Care Website is a great representation of what they provide within their center as well as Peekaboo as a community. It provides a professional outline of what Peekaboo is, how to go through it and the new products that they are introducing in all of the centers. The website is easy to navigate and provides directive and easy pages in order to go exactly where you would like based on main subjects. The Peekaboo website seems to be kept up to date and relevant of what is going on within the centers. The layout of the website is modern and follows the Peekaboo slogan in a professional manner.

The usability and navigation of the Peekaboo website is made easy with the directive categories that is given. Once you have decided on the subject area you would like to go to, say for instance programs, it has different sections of descriptive information based on the age of the child that you can further click and receive more relevant info! Thus, making the main categories the main priority on the starting page and sub-pages relating to the topic on their pages. This can be seen as a tool creating easy navigation as the pages are reflective of what a parent would like to know based on the subject. Furthermore, the website has a side bar of “Explore Peekaboo”, “Locations’, “Drop by for a visit”, and “Testimonials” on every page that is clicked allowing the parent to take the next logical step when choosing a daycare. This can be seen as a good marketing strategy as well as leading the client to what you’d like them to see.The multi-media used in Peekaboo are videos for testimonials of current and previous clients reflecting parent and child views. There is a slide show that goes through 4 slides located on the main page, acknowledging the new products being implemented and what Peekaboo would like to reflect in their work. There is a GPS map that allows potential clients to input their postal code and address, enabling them to find a Peekaboo closest to them. Another multi-media dynamic Peekaboo uses is Video over the Internet, where parents are able to pay an extra amount of money weekly in order to watch their child within their classroom over the internet. A great program they are currently starting to implement is Pipeline which allows parents to access their child’s daily activities, milestones, and updates over a program they can download specific to Peekaboo.

The best qualities of the website would be the multi-media usage as it is unique and professional. As I looked at other child care centers it was evident that smaller centers did not have these sorts of multimedia’s on their website, but were rather plan and ordinary. By having the slide show on the first page it demonstrates the up-to-date knowledge and professionalism that Peekaboo is trying to portray to the public. In my opinion, the website is represented as a fun and interactive use for information based on the layout and colors. As it is a direct representation of the Peekaboo centers, it is demonstrating that within the images, pictures, subjects, and wording that the potential client is able to see.

The recommendations I would suggest for the Peekaboo Website are to moderate the amount of information on the Home Page. As it is directive and easy to navigate it is also seen as very busy, in my opinion. By having the moving slides with the information under the page tabs, as well as three sections below the slides makes my eyes hurt and wonder where I can specifically focus on. I would suggest to make it simpler by taking a few of the home page categories out, or subdividing it into categories that are easy to find. By doing this I believe that people whom are not experts on the computer would be able to focus on the most important information rather than the smaller things such as the Facebook Page for Peekaboo.

Advertisements
0

Endless ABC

                                                  

Endless ABC

Age: 2 and up

Cost: $2.99

Software: IOS – Ipads, Ipods, Iphones

Endless ABC is an animated game that allows children to learn their alphabet, spelling, word definition, and letter sounds in a monster themed game. The game starts with choosing a beginning word letter to work on, followed by the word outlined in the middle.The letters are spread among the page where it is encouraged for the children to drag the letter to the correct spacing. While the child is dragging the letter it turns into a monster and pronounces the sound that the specific letter makes. After the word is correctly spelled there is an animated cartoon of monsters doing the specific actions of the word and a verbal definition. It creates interest for children and their want to successfully finish the word in order to see the cartoon next. This is not only educational for children but entertaining for everyone!

I know, another educational game that is repetitive and boring. That was my initial thought when I started to look for educational games on the web, until I found Endless ABC. I decided to pay the very inexpensive fee and tested it out. Did I find it entertaining and fun? Why I certainly did! I spent about 20 minutes going through the game, and found myself giggling at the animated characters as they made their funny sounds and actions. I believe this app would be a great tool for preschool and kindergarten students as it a basic everyday tool that is instructive, follows the curriculum, but also allows independent work for each child. The app allows children to work from small words to big words, allowing developmental appropriateness to be chosen by educator or student. As described in Practical guidelines for evaluating educational software,Hypermedia puts learners in control of their own learning experiences, allowing them to select the content, methods, materials, and activities that suit their own needs, interests, and abilities. Thus, it enhances not only cognition and learning, but learner motivation as well (Spitzer 1996).”  For example, if words are too easy for a student they can skip words to harder ones. If a student needs extra help with “A” words they can stay on the letter and complete each “A” word as it progressively gets harder. Endless ABC is updated monthly with new words allowing constant learning by the child and non- repetitive material. Also, this game is inquiry based. Children are able to learn and how control over their learning

The best features of Endless ABC in my opinion is the ability to have numerous forms of multi-media that allows most learning styles to be active in the game. “This multisensory approach promotes information storage and retrieval (both visual and auditory coding into memory networks), fosters motivation (provides more enjoyment], and accommodates students with diverse learning styles and preferences (Ayersman 1996).” The ability to see the letters, hear the letters sounds when they are touched, put the letter in a word context, define the word with a cartooned definition as well as verbal touches almost every learning style available through educational programs. This is called graphic phonetic awareness, an educational tool used in most schools allowing inclusiveness to   all children through these different methods which subsides with most schools exclusivity policy. Furthermore, Endless ABC does not condone negative feedback but rather uses different sounds such as ” uh oh” or ” uh uh” to communicate that the child may want to try again with their placement. This allows the children to not be discouraged about their choice but rather entertained and directed to a different answer. It’s great that after a child has successfully accomplished the word a clapping and cheering sound comes on, encouraging positive reinforcement with  the child’s decision!

The limitations of this software are the inability to draw the letters after practice. As it is meant for a younger age group whom are learning their alphabet, reading, and sound associations I believe it would be beneficial for children to also be able to use their finger and tracing and/or free hand drawing the letters and words for practice. Also, students are not able to interact socially with other students unless they are partnering to play the game or attaching the software to a larger screen. Children may use teamwork in accomplishing the tasks but it may be hard in sharing a rather small device among more then two or more children.

Tips and recommendations I would give for childcare professionals that would like to implement Endless ABC into their classroom would be to thoroughly explain the software before allowing a child to independently use it, especially younger children. The concepts are pretty simple to catch on to, but all children learn differently and we must be inclusive to all needs. By describing how to use the app it will allow the children to move from specific letters to words, understand why the monsters are making the letters sounds while their touched, and how to independently determine what they would like to do within the app. Another recommendation is to interact with the child while playing the game. We know that children enjoy the company of adults and are able to learn better when interacting among an educator. So take some time out and spend some quality time with the children playing the Endless ABC!

References

aerielle94 (2013, May 7) Ethan reading Endless ABC [Video file] Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_a2Wf67bwY

Practical guidelines for evaluating educational software .June S Goyne; Sharon K McDonough; Dara D Padgett.The Clearing House; Jul/Aug 2000; 73, 6; Research Library pg. 345

1

“The Early Literacy Shift: New Words, New Media, New Friends”

The blog Kathy Cassidy (http://kathycassidy.com/2013/09/14/the-early-literacy-shift-new-words-new-media-new-friends/) follows a grade one teacher and her students through their learning and development within their classroom in Saskatoon, Canada. The blog is not a typical blog as Ms. Cassidy embraces the new technological age that is coming upon us and developing her students into tech savy beings. She has realized that the world is changing with or without her, so she needs to develop her curriculum into benefiting students rather then leaving them at a disadvantage.

The blog post “The Early Literacy Shift: New Words, New Media, New Friends” describes how the present day has changed into a technologically advanced educational system. With this has there has been significant changes to vocabulary, tools that  are used for teaching and learning, learning styles, audiences for written work,  and new ways to communicate with each other.

Ms. Cassidy has made a twitter and blog for every student within her classroom. This allows the children to work on narratives, personal reflection, and their writing (spelling, sentence structure) on a public domain that is able to be viewed by not only the teacher but other classrooms across the world, their family, and the general public. It produces feedback from the audience as well as a way to connect to others using the new technology. Within this article Ms. Cassidy describes how she allows the children to practice their reading and writing via Skype with other classrooms across the world. This method allows children to help other children and do peer review over a simple application such as Skype. This article connects to scholarship on technology and learning because Ms. Cassidy has embraced the new technology in her classroom and outside for the children in order for them to learn and develop through the tools of their century. No, I am not saying that not writing on paper and reading out loud to the class is not done within her classroom. She has expanded the opportunities for children to learn the way they are best able to using simple technologies.

As a Registered Early Childhood Educator this article is valuable to me because it opened my eyes to what is happening within our elementary schools. I had some idea of the new technology being implemented such as the smart board and the Ipads being introduced to most classrooms but I never knew to the extent until I read this article. This blog demonstrated how we can use technology to our benefit as educators and to our students. It has given me resources and an image of what I need to learn before I enter an elementary school as a professional. Before I did not believe in technology as a teaching tool because I thought it took away from true interactions and learning opportunities between people but now I have seen how to use technology to connect rather then limit.  As before mentioned, Ms. Cassidy’s class uses Skype to connect with other classrooms across the world. Who can say you did that as a child? I remember writing to my pen pal in Nova Scotia…. Opportunities like talking to another child in a different country via Skype allow learning to expand and develop for both children.

A child develops in numerous ways based on what they experience at a young age. As per John Dewey’s theory of play based learning“[…] Dewey advocated an education for young children that was embedded in their current experience in the world that surrounded them. He thought play could be used to help children reconstruct their experience and to gain meaning from it” (Saracho & Spodek, 1995, pg. 133) I believe that children learn from doing and experiencing through play as to their interests and wants. This allows rewarding experiences to be encountered that allow information to be instilled rather to simply be listened to. In order to find out what children are interested in we need to look at the way they best learn, every one child is different. Technology has become a great tool for children whom may have difficulty learning from text books, reading, and/or listening. For instance, my ten year old cousin has hydrocephalus,  he is at a grade one reading level and grade two writing. He does not like t o focus when doing writing or reading tasks on paper because it does not interest him. When an Ipad was introduced with the app Explain Everything he would not take his hands off of it. The technology aspect of learning interested him so much because it reminded him of his computer and play station that he loves. It is inclusive to his learning needs and allows an expansion of his development