Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Early Childhood Corner: KidSmart


KidSmart is an innitiative by IBM to help leverage technology in helping prepare young learners for a 21st Century world. Kidsmartearlylearning.org is a website containing information about technology for both parents and educators.  When visitors arrive at the site you are greeted with images of happy children interacting with the Little Tikes Young Explorer computer.  Choose from 9 different languages to enter the site.  The site titled KidSmart Guide to Early Learning and Technology for Home and School contains two entry points - one for parents and one for educators.  The information is similar but customized for each audience.
Information is available in the categories of Learning and Playing Together, Integrating Technology and Access for All are introduced using videos, cartoons and information segments.
For parents the information is designed to help  understand what's possible when it comes to young children and computer time. The site contains: KidSmart Comics - comic strips featuring parents discussing learning, computers, and kids; Things You Can Do - a list of useful ideas and suggestions to help you get the most out of the family's PC; and School Link - concrete teacher tips, overviews of classroom issues and other tools that a child's teacher may use. The text and audio features of this site will help you discover that the computer is just one of many rich, varied materials found in a good learning environment.
For many educators, computers are already one among many of the rich, varied materials found in a good learning environment. For others, technology is new territory and you may need to become comfortable with the equipment and familiar with software activities. The site contains: Overviews - introductions to important issues about teaching and learning with technology; Conversations - practical discussions that teachers have about these issues; Teacher Tips - concrete tips on evaluating software and useful aids for classroom management; Promising Practices - real lesson plan ideas submitted by teachers; and Home Link - suggestions for what parents can do to use computers to support early learning at home.

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