We always enjoy collaborating with our Kent State Child Development Center (CDC) and are so happy to welcome the 2016-17 CDC Kindergarten class to the AT&T Classroom. Over the next two weeks, the children will be exploring several creativity and design tools to support their learning. The websites the children will be using in the AT&T Classroom are bookmarked in their class Symbaloo. Symbaloo is a free bookmarking tool and is particularly useful with younger children and emerging readers as the icons provide an effective visual cue to help children recognize the website they need to access for a particular activity. You can access the CDC Kindergarten Symbaloo webmix at the following URL: http://www.symbaloo.com/mix/cdckindergartensymbaloo1
This past week the CDC Kindergartners were introduced to the the 3D printing process. Building from their work on the cities that they have been designing back at CDC, the children worked in their table groups to brainstorm specific artifacts to add to their cities that could be designed and printed in 3D. To prepare for their small group work, the class explored 3D project model examples online at Thingiverse, a web-based platform with resources for 3D projects and lessons and then met in their table groups to brainstorm and design the 3D models to add to their cities. Within their small groups the kindergartners used Scribble n’ Play ewriter tablets for brainstorming their 3D printer projects.
The kindergartners also explored the Makerbot Printshop iOS app, a free and very easy-to-use tool for designing models for 3D printing. The tool offers templates for creating and customizing medallions, bracelets, rings, vases and 3D text models. The platform also includes a Shape Maker tool that children can use to create a 3D model from their own hand-made drawing by capturing a photo of the drawing and importing the image into the tool. Children can also select from models designed by other builders in the tool’s Curated Collections and Digital Store. The children’s final projects are being printed using a Makerbot Replicator Mini, a 3D printer designed for K-12 classrooms.
This past week the kindergartners were introduced to two tools for creativity and expression. ABCya Story Maker is a free web-based tool that children can use to draw pictures and then write text to describe and support their scene. ABCya Story Maker offers a variety of drawing tools that can be used for creating the pictures. Story projects can encompass one page or multiple pages. Finished story projects can be printed and saved. The Kindergartners used ABCya Story Maker on the laptops to create digital stories.
The Kindergartners were also introduced to the Book Creator iPad app which they are using to create All About Me books. Book Creator is a tablet tool that children can use to create their own interactive ebooks. Children can add text choosing from over 50 fonts within the tool. Children can also add images to their stories by drawing with the pen tool or by adding photos and images from the tablet’s photo library, from the web or captured and inserted using the tablet’s camera. Books can also include video, music, and recorded narration. Finished books can be shared via email or uploaded for cloud storage via Google Drive, Dropbox or iCloud. Currently available as an iOS or Android app, a new web-based version of Book Creator is targeted for release Summer 2017 that will work in the Chrome browser of all devices and platforms.
At the end of the week the Kindergartners explored tools for coding and programming. To set the stage for their work, the Coding Group shared a project they had created in their small group work at CDC using Scratch Jr, a programming app designed for young children by the MIT Media Lab.
Following the group's presentation the children had a demonstration of the various tools and features within the Scratch Jr platform and then worked individually within the app to create and code their own animated scenes.
Building from their work with Scratch Jr, the children were then introduced to Daisy the Dinosaur, an iOS app that utilizes a visual block coding language very similar to the Scratch Jr interface. Daisy the Dinosaur uses a game-life format to engage children in learning to combine and sequence drag-and-drop steps to make the dinosaur move, jump, shrink and grow. Both Scratch Jr and Daisy the Dinosaur are designed to provide young children with developmentally appropriate experiences with coding and programming while also providing opportunities for children to express themselves creatively by designing their own games, animations and interactive stories.