Preschool Technology Readiness Mission

The purpose of this blog is to explore the use of technology in the preschool classroom, considering different ideas, research, and methods, and to build a community of educators, parents, techies, and anyone interested in technology in preschool, where we can share our ideas and knowledge. We, the authors and contributors, are Early Childhood Education students, currently studying ECE Curriculum. Our textbook, The Creative Curriculum For Preschool (Diane Trister Dodge, Laura J. Colker, and Cate Heroman), is the foundation of our site, specifically with its chapter on computers (chapter 15).

We invite you, our readers, to reflect upon the importance of computers in preschool and consider the questions involved. Also, to share your experiences, knowledge, and resources with us, and those who frequent our blog.

Thank You!

The Preschool Technology Readiness Team

Friday, August 24, 2012

Lexibook kids-tablet coming to the US, makes fifth-graders dream of an Aakash

French educational tech maker Lexibook is bringing its eponymous kiddy-tablet to the US from next month. It's not talking specs or price, but we're expecting it to be close to the Lexibook First currently available in Europe. The seven-inch slate packs a 600MHz processor, 256MB RAM, 4GB storage (expandable to 16GB with an microSD card), parental controls and 802.11 b/g WiFi. The FroYo-running device retails for £150 ($237) over the pond, but if the company tries something similar over here, we suspect people might plump for something a little more powerful, or less expensive, or both.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Apps for Kids 30: iHideAndSeek

Apps for Kids 30: iHideAndSeek

Click here to play episode. Apps for Kids is Boing Boing's podcast about cool smartphone apps for kids and parents. My co-host is my 9-year-old daughter, Jane Frauenfelder.
In this week's episode Jane and I talk about iHideAndSeek. You play the game by hiding your iPhone somewhere in a room and having your friends try to find it by listening to the sounds the phone makes every once in a while. It's 99-cents in the iTunes store (I said it was free in the podcast, but I was mistaken).
If you're an app developer and would like to have Jane and me try one of your apps for possible review, email a redeem code to


Friday, July 27, 2012

PBS’ Quest to Build a Better Kids’ App

PBS’ Quest to Build a Better Kids’ App

Super Why Mobile
PBS Kids‘ history of producing strong and purposeful learning content for children has continued into the mobile space. With a series of quality apps aligned to PBS Kids programs like Super Why, Arthur and Dinosaur Train, it is setting up a platform that demonstrates how to convert existing content and characters into digital content that both respects the mobile space, but also the children who will be engaging with it.
Overall, the design of each app reflects the nature of the characters and show to which it is aligned. The apps have not been squeezed into the same format, and the learning process of children is considered and designed into apps that have appropriate prompts, audio and visual for the different age groups for which the apps are developed.
PBS’ digital team has also presented its apps in a well-designed portal that makes it easy for parents to establish which apps are targeted at their children’s age, interest and their own device.
To further understand and capture how PBS Kids goes about developing its interactive, mobile content, GeekDad interviewed PBS Kids Interactive vice president Sara DeWitt about the process and about what PBS is trying to achieve with its suite of mobile apps.
GeekDad: PBS covers such a broad space; can you talk to the breadth of interactive media for kids?
Sara DeWitt: At PBS Kids we look for learning opportunities in every new technology. The technology landscape is changing so rapidly, which gives us exciting ways to innovate, extend our mission and grow our relevance. Just as we did with television in the 1960s, PBS Kids is now looking at new platforms and saying, “How can we use this to create age-appropriate, educational content to engage kids and help them prepare for success in school and in life?”

The proliferation of new media platforms has enabled us to extend the reach of our educational content and beloved characters to new frontiers, from touchscreen mobile apps to streaming video to gesture-based and augmented reality games. It’s exciting to track what the next technological advances are, and to think of ways that we can leverage them to help kids build key skills.
Of course, as we look at all of these new platforms, we’re also thinking about parents. With every new launch for kids, we’re also providing tools for their parents to help them make the most of the media, thinking about ways they can support learning away from screens, and helping them develop the media diet that is right for their household. You can find many of these tools on and
GeekDad: Given your history and different platforms, how does PBS approach the app space?
DeWitt: We believe that mobile apps can be great learning tools for children — they can help provide learning moments on the go, they can encourage children to look at the world around them, and the touchscreen technology makes it much easier for young children to navigate.
At PBS Kids, our approach is to offer mobile content that is both educational and entertaining, and that provides a consistent experience with our programming. At the beginning of each new production season, we work closely with our series producers to think about how their TV episodes, websites, and mobile content will work together and consistently. Apps are a key piece of this cross-platform experience that we continue to build to offer families high-quality learning content wherever they are.
Our approach is also highly research-based. We do a great deal of testing in the development process of our apps, and have also done some of the earliest studies in the kids mobile apps space to test our apps for educational impact. A past study showed that kids who played with our Martha Speaks Dog Party app made significant learning gains, including a 31 percent increase in vocabulary tested.
With 17 apps available on the App Store, one Android app, and many more projects in the pipeline, PBS Kids continues to develop content across media platforms to both engage and educate America’s children, reaching increasingly more kids and families on-air, online, on mobile, and beyond.
GeekDad: What is most important in developing mobile content for children?
DeWitt: When we are developing an app we think about what kids love most — true, immersive character engagement that’s exciting. But this is the most important rule in developing PBS Kids content for any platform! It’s important that the mobile experience is consistent with the characters and worlds kids know from PBS Kids on-air and on
We know kids want to play with our characters and that parents want their kids to learn from the experience. Apps should center on relevant, age-appropriate content that balances engagement with learning. Other networks will tell you this balance is impossible, but PBS Kids continually draws new audiences to content that is both funny and smart.
Finally, apps should also account for children’s developing motor skills. All of our apps are tested to be sure they meet developmentally appropriate standards.
GeekDad: Do you think developers understand enough about how children learn to produce digital media that is purposeful for kids? How does PBS approach it?
DeWitt: There is a lot of research going on in this area, but many folks are developing faster than the research can be analyzed.
PBS has assembled two advisory boards to help us make sure we’re being thoughtful, purposeful and appropriate as we develop on these new platforms. Advisory board members include academics, teachers, organizations that advocate for children, and digital content experts. In addition to working with these outside folks on a regular basis, we also make sure all of our producers do usability testing throughout production. In addition, many of our games are included in rigorous formative and summative evaluations, including pre- and post-tests to understand what children may have learned from playing with our content.
PBS Kids’ goal is to provide quality educational programming and digital media. Whether created for web, mobile, interactive white boards or televisions, our games are developed around curriculum goals in literacy, math, science and beyond to supplement and extend school-based learning.
GeekDad: Some of the challenges are making the most of the space; how does PBS look beyond apps to simulate real-life activities or re-purpose TV content without re-imagining it?
DeWitt: PBS Kids builds a transmedia experience for kids. We have made a strategic investment to offer our content wherever kids and parents are — on TV, online, mobile devices, in the classroom — to be truly multi-platform. Our characters go beyond the television screen, and most importantly, our audience can expect to have a consistent experience with them whether they are interacting with them in a mobile app, watching them on-screen, or playing games with them online. We also work closely with our producers to create content that is right for each platform — to use the unique benefits of each technology to help enhance kids’ learning. For example, online games give us the opportunity for leveling and scaffolding, so that kids can advance to more challenging material in a way that is customized to them.
Finally, we are committed to helping kids recognize the real-world applications of the skills they learn through our content. Our apps and the characters in them model positive behaviors and skills that children can apply beyond the screen. And many of our games are launched with offline activities that kids can play with their peers, parents and educators. For examples, visit
GeekDad: Anything else you’d like to share?
DeWitt: We are constantly exploring what new opportunities can come from emerging technologies. Last year we launched an augmented reality app (Fetch! Lunch Rush) and a virtual reality app (Dinosaur Train Camera Catch). Right now we’re doing experiments with body input navigation using webcams — you can check out the Wild Kratts games Going Batty and Caracal Leap as examples. We’re also working on a 3-D rendered collaborative game to support math education, launching several new mobile-friendly HTML5 games, and beginning development on a new virtual world. In all, we’re producing some of the most cutting-edge media available to young learners today.
Many of these experiments are funded through the Ready to Learn program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Education and focuses on new math and literacy interactive content. Through this project, which we work on in partnership with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), we are researching the educational impact of engaging with our content on more than one platform, compared to just one standalone platform.

Via Wired

Three sites with online games for preschool

Here are three sites with online games for preschool 

All Preschool Games such as
Ant Parade   Place the correct number of ants on the leaf that matches the number of the flag.

The online preschool learning games for kids in this preschool games section have been made available for free play online!
There is NO Downloading required for these online childrens games.
                       Preschool Learning games for kids, free kids games, fun kids games, toddler games and more fun learning activities for preschoolers online.

All Preschool Games
Listing items 1 to 10 of 57
                       Animal Safari
Match the names of the animals to their pictures in Funschool's Animal Safari. This science game is a fun way for new readers to learn to recognize words.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Boing Boing's Apps for Kids

Apps for Kids 027: Flow

Flow Click here to play episode. Apps for Kids is Boing Boing's podcast about cool smartphone apps for kids and parents. My co-host is my 9-year-old daughter, Jane Frauenfelder.
In this week's episode Jane and I talk about Flow Free, a game where you try to connect pairs of colored dots without crossing any lines you've already drawn. It's free in the iTunes store.
Don't forget to be part of our "Listener Email" segment. If you would like to have us read your favorite game or gadget recommendation on the air, or if you have a question you'd like us to answer on the show, email us at Include your age, and the city, state, and country you live in.
If you're an app developer and would like to have Jane and me try one of your apps for possible review, email a redeem code to
Listen to past episodes of Apps for Kids here.
To get a weekly email to notify you when a new episode of Apps for Kids is up, sign up here.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Hazards for Preschool Computer Use

Hazards for Preschool Computer Use

Hazards for Preschool Computer Use

Parent Inspiration
Is your tot already computer savvy? What parents needs to know about the risks of computer use for young children.  
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Computers in Preschool: Hurting or Helping?

Computers in Preschool: Hurting or Helping?

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Because computer knowledge is vital in our society today, many parents believe that the earlier their children begin to use the computer, the better. By the preschool years, most children are spending time on computers at school and/or at home. But is it healthy for preschoolers to be interacting with computers? And if so, how do parents decide how much computer time is beneficial or when it’s too much?
Advantages of Computers
Some studies have shown that children who use computers from an early age have several advantages. Computer classes are taught in most kindergarten and elementary schools, so preschoolers who are already familiar with the operation of the keyboard and mouse will be ahead of the learning curve. They may also have an advantage if they have the opportunity to play with educational programs, as many learn reading and number skills from computer software.
Some experts suggest that allowing preschoolers to have computer time can be beneficial because computer use:
  • Introduces educational skills
  • Teaches spatial and logical skills
  • Prepares children for future computer use
  • Increases self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Boosts problem-solving skills
  • Stimulates language comprehension
  • Improves long-term memory and manual dexterity
The greatest benefits, though, occur when children use computers side-by-side or when they work with adults. In these situations, preschoolers develop cooperative problem-solving skills. They also have the opportunity to interact with others, which enhances their overall learning.
Disadvantages of Computers
In spite of the many benefits, experts also point out drawbacks to preschool computer use. Some express concern for children’s physical health. Others cite psychological and developmental concerns.
Preschooler’s muscles and bones are still developing, but computers and furniture, especially at home, are rarely set up properly for children. “Most parents,” says Peter Buckle of the Robens Centre for Health Ergonomics, “seem unaware of the possible dangers of children sitting for long periods unsupported, with necks twisted and wrists overextended.” Physical problems can also result from sitting too close to the computer screen.
Another difficulty arises when the computer is used as a babysitter, as when parents put in educational games and believe their children are better off than sitting in front of a TV. Educational psychologist and teacher Jane Healy disagrees. She doesn’t believe there is much difference between the two. “Simply selecting and watching a screen is a pallid substitute for real mental activity,” Healy says. She suggests that reading together, having family discussions, or playing are a much more valuable use of time. These activities can provide as much educational stimulation as the software with the added benefit of social interaction. Healy also questions whether some popular computer games have academic value. Some, she says, “may even be damaging to creativity, attention, and motivation.”