Dear TCEA Responds:
My supervisor is asking me for technology requests for budgeting purposes. Can you give me suggestions for interactive technology for a pre-K classroom?
What a great question! Listed below you will find interactive technology for the itty bitties (also known as the wonderful pre-kindergarteners.) The ideas are divided by cost, and there is something for everyone and every budget.
GoNoodle helps teachers get students moving with short, interactive activities. Desk-side movement can help kids achieve more by keeping them engaged and motivated throughout the day. GoNoodle is designed for K-5 classrooms, but I would think that, by the winter holidays, PreK students could be “noodlin” also. Of course, there is no cost if you already have access to the following: computer, internet connection, projector, and a screen.
Flipgrid is a video discussion platform. Students post short videos called responses and can then view the responses and reply to each other’s videos. It is accessible from a Windows/Mac computer and on iOS/Android devices. Regardless of their reading or writing level, Flipgrid allows all students to share their thoughts and capture the learning process. Check out the Tips and Tricks for PrekK-2 Classrooms from the Flipgrid blog.
An iPad is a great prek technology for the classroom. Doodle Buddy Paint Draw App is my favorite go-to app up through the third grade. This drawing and painting app has a user-friendly interface and can be multi-purposed across all content areas. The tools include a paintbrush, stamps, and stencils. The only drawback to the free drawing app, Doodle Buddy is the adds that pop-up. You can disable the ads with a $5.99 purchase.
Here are a few more apps for the Itty-Bitties.
- Reading Eggs – Learn to Read (Free)
- AlphaTots Alphabet – Letters and sounds ($.99)
- Monkey Preschool Lunchbox – Seven different games that teach kids about colors, letters, counting, shapes, sizes, matching, and differences. ($1.99)
- Narrator AR – Writing with augmented reality ($1.99)
- My Very Hungry Caterpillar – 3D interactive storybook ($4.99)
- Montessorium-Intro to Math ($4.99)
The GooseChase app is a scavenger hunt app which requires a mobile device with wireless access. It is very versatile and engaging in the learning environment. Students can submit answers by typing a response, taking a picture of a response, or even video recording their answer. The free version of GooseChase EDU is limited to one active game with five teams. This option will be sufficient if your class size is small. But I would suggest investing in the Educator Plus plan ($49 per year) which will allow for up to 10 teams. For your non-readers, I could certainly see teachers setting up weekend GooseChases for parents and their young children to go on shape, number, or color hunts with this interactive scavenger hunt app.
(FREE to $49)
Coding Express is a train set made out of DUPLO bricks. It is a push and go train which also has action bricks that are brightly colored planks. Two to five-year-olds are able to do code sequencing, looping, and conditional coding with the action bricks.
Cubetto is a wooden cube robot that three to six-year-olds can program without a screen. Students guide Cubetto through a series of maps and stories by placing colored blocks onto a wooden interface board in a particular sequence. This is a great program with that will teach the child the basics of computer programming through adventure and hands-on play.
The iPad is a tablet computer that is being used by countless schools to create interactive learning environments.
($329 and up)
The KIBO is a screen-free robot kit for four to seven-year-old students. Kids can create, design, decorate, and bring the robot to life. The best thing I like about this robot is it doesn’t only move, but also comes with sound, distance, and light sensors to program. Kinderlab has a (fee-based) curriculum which accompanies the KIBO.
($199 – $499)
You probably have heard or seen an epic LEGO wall like the one we have at TCEA. The TCEA LEGO wall was built with the help of Diana Rendina’s blog Renovated Learning. Her post How to Build an Epic LEGO Wall includes a time-lapse video and everything else you’ll need to get started. If classroooms, libraries, and schools have a LEGO wall, why not a DUPLO wall for your early learning classrooms? You can buy DUPLO building plates on Amazon. If you decide to build a LEGO or a DUPLO wall, make sure you check out my blog post on lessons learned from the TCEA LEGO wall. Depending on the size, an estimated cost is $750 – $1500.