Archive for February, 2012

The Importance of Play in Early Childhood

I am taking a class right now on Play’s role in early childhood development. I always thought that play was important, but over the course of the semester I have really been challenged as to why it’s important. Today we talked about the risk taking that is often involved with play–specifically physical risk. Examples of this might include: learning to ride a bike, climbing a tree, rock climbing, and pulling a wagon up a hill and riding down in it. The idea of “helicopter parents” and “hovering parents” was discussed. In many of the research we have watched in this class, it seems that many parents in North America fall into these categories. A lot of parents express that they do not feel safe allowing their children to explore and play in certain ways–and if they do play, then the parents want to be able to observe everything that happens and supervise their children. In some ways, I can understand this and sympathize with parents concerns.

However, I think that some of the most amazing skills that children learn during play, occur because they are in charge of their own learning. If play is always structured, and always closely observed/supervised–I think that it can be difficult for children to be creative, explore, use their imagination and develop a sense of independence and control and problem solving skills. I think that opportunities for structured and supervised play do have a role in healthy childhood development, however I do not think we can cut out independent, unstructured and unsupervised, non-risky play behavior. I think that a healthy balance between the two is ideal. If a child has the opportunity to pull that wagon up the hill, jump in and ride down–it’s not the end of the world if they have a few scrapes and bruises. I had lots of minor scrapes and bumps and bruises growing up, but I think that having the opportunity to try new things and take risks let me understand natural consequences for various behaviors. If a child continually injures themselves in a specific play activity, they are not likely to continue playing that way without some modifications.

I think that if we all take on a helicopter approach to parenting/teaching, we will have a generation of children who will not know how to be creative or how to use their imaginations or learn to take risks. I think that they need to be allowed to explore these areas through play. As an alternative for parents and teachers, we should try to take a more active role in joining children’s play–not trying to dictate or structure it (at least not all the time). I think we also need to be OK with letting them get a few bumps and bruises along the way–it won’t kill them! It might even help them make smarter choices in the future when “riskier” opportunities arise. I think that If we structure all their play in such a way that there are never any risks, we are not fostering the development of their problem solving skills, leadership skills or socialization skills.

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Ohio School Shooting February 27th, 2012

http://www.wkyc.com/news/article/232714/396/LIVE-Coverage-Chardon-High-School-shooting-

Has anyone else seen this? I have been following on the story on the web, following news updates. One of the more recent posts from Yahoo has stated that according to Newsnet 5, the shooter had tweeted a post yesterday, saying that he was planning to bring a gun to school but no one took him seriously.

Earlier in ECMP 355 today, we had been talking about digital legacy and the idea of eventually posting your last status update. I thought about my Facebook friends who have passed away and how many of their Facebook friends continue to comment and post on their wall. I also thought about people posting suicidal status updates, or violent or depressive status’. Sometimes when I have commented or messaged an individual with a post such as this, a common response is “Oh, it’s just lyrics from a song I like”. I feel frustrated because it is difficult to know what is sincere and what is posted flippantly. Although, I think that even when people say it’s just a song, there is obviously a part of them that is identifying with that particular message in/of the song. I can see how people may not have taken the shooters’ Twitter message seriously, but maybe if someone would have–this tragedy could have been avoided.

Pros and Cons of Gaming

Earlier this week my husband and I went to visit some family friends of ours. They have three children who are between the ages of 1 and 6. Their little boy who is 6, loves playing Wii. His mother and I talked about how much time

playing Wii or DSI is appropriate for children. She suggested that there are some benefits to playing these games, skills such as critical thinking are required in order to meet the challenges of each level and in turn, proceed to the next level I also thought about the fine motor and coordination skills that are being developed with the pressing of various keys and buttons. However, I think there are more cons than pros that come to my mind when I consider gaming habits. I think screen time can have a negative impact on children’s eyes (as well as adults), I also think most games lend themselves to physical inactivity. I realize Wii Fit Games strive to combat physical inactivity, however I still think the physical activity provided by these games is inadequate for developing/maintaining healthy bodies.

I think that gaming in moderation is not necessarily detrimental, but I do not know how much is too much. I know many people my age are obsessed with games such as Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, and World of Warcraft. In these cases, I think the most harmful effect is the desensitization to moral issues such as extreme violence. Other issues regarding risky behaviors are also placed in a positive light for many of these games. A concern I have is that many of the guidelines for these games discourages young audiences from playing, but often these guidelines are ignored. I have a younger cousin who has been playing Call of Duty since he was 6. Obviously, I don’t agree with this but I realize that there are many children who play these games. The presence of desensitization to issues such as violence is prevalent throughout North American media and is not just limited to video games, especially in shows such as CSI. However I think that these types of games force children to take an active role in these behaviors as opposed to just watching them. In regards to non-violent games these issues do not necessarily exist– perhaps in games such as Mario Brothers.My primary concern with gaming is that many people, adults and children included, end up spending too many hours on these screen games–the balance between what is appropriate and what’s too much is something I am interested in researching more about. I am also interested in others opinions on this topic!

iTextbooks

I am sure many of you have seen this already. I think it’s amazing! However, I would be concerned that only wealthy schools would be able to afford this luxurious and modern way of learning. What do you think?

Tech Task #8 The Door Scene

Here is our Tech Task #8, The Door Scene!

Tech Task # 7 Music Mashup

Here is my Tech Task #7. I made a music mashup using the introductions from some of my favorite songs. Here it is!

 

Tech Task #6 Digital Story Telling

Here is the link to my Tech Task #6

I had never made a digital story before this! I was really nervous at first because I did not think I would be able to create anything that would look very good. However, I had no idea how many digital story telling tools are available. I used GoAnimate for my story. It was actually very easy and it was not time consuming. I was also pleased with how the digital story turned out. The idea I used for my story was based on my internship experience. I was teaching the grade one students basic addition facts up to 20. One of our lessons was this exact “How Many Apples” question, where there are 13 apples and some are red and some are yellow. Students had to think of different amounts there could have been for each color of apple. For example, someone might have answered, “There could be 4 red apples and 9 yellow apples.”.

I think digital story telling is an excellent teaching tool that can be incorporated into teaching. If I ever end up in a grade one classroom again, I would definitely use this digital story for my Set. I think digital stories have a certain type of appeal that many children will appreciate. Creating sets for lesson plans that are basically a cartoon has the potential to really grab the audiences attention. I think it is also more likely to keep students engaged for the development and closure of the lesson. Thanks for showing us how easy this is, Alec!