Busy Shapes by Edoki Academy is hands down, one of the coolest kid’s games I have played to date! I LOVE everything to do with Children’s Media and will often find myself just browsing kid’s games, books, apps, and tv shows. The other day, I came across this little game that didn’t look too exciting or familiar but I decided to check it out.
Hands Down, One of “The Greats”
What did I find?! One of THE best apps for kids that I’ve ever stumbled across; even I enjoyed playing this game. Not only was it incredibly fun, adorable and unique, but it is SO EDUCATIONAL. Busy Shapes has a Montessori approach to learning and is being called “The First Digital Playground” by one educational app review site.
Since playing this game, exploring the features, and doing my research, I have become passionate about all that this mobile application has to offer and I am excited to share what I’ve learned! I will explain how this game fits into the section of the Ontario Kindergarten Curriculum that highlights innovation and problem solving. Through examples, I will demonstrate how Busy Shapes inspires innovation, how it explores problem solving and why every parent or adult who is working with children, will love it!
Learning through DIGITAL play: If Jean Piaget had an iPad
So many people think that for children, screen time is “bad”, that games are “addictive”, that digital media is “unsafe”. While it’s been proven that learning through play is the best way for young children to learn, why wouldn’t that include the digital playground? I wholeheartedly believe in the benefits of children’s media, when it is used as intended. There is so much for children to learn through the increasing use of technology.
For today’s tech-savvy kids, computers, tablets and smartphones are the new paper, pencils and crayons. Long gone are the days of writing everything on paper and learning cursive in the 4th grade. Technology didn’t play a prominent role in my life from the minute I was born, and therefore, my peers and I had to slowly incorporate these techniques into our daily practices — especially as they began to contribute to our educational success.
I’ve gained a lot of insight about the modern-day classroom, thanks to my younger cousins. The fact that one of my cousins got her first laptop when she was in grade 6, says a lot about its relevance. I didn’t get my own laptop until I was in grade 12!
Let’s make some more comparisons. In 1998, when I was in kindergarten, the teacher taught us on blackboards. Today teachers use smart boards. Until I hit high school, most of my assignments were to be handed in via paper. Today, it’s Moodles and Google Docs. I used poster boards; they use multimedia platforms like PowerPoints and Prezis. Cellphone and technology agreement forms are a necessity today; they were never an issue in my world until I reached high school.
Of course, every generation likes to compare themselves to the younger generation, but what makes education intriguing today, is the effect these advancements have on children’s learning processes. According to Jason Hames, a Toronto District School Board teacher of 7 years, “[Technology] allows students to grow their community beyond the constraints of distance or time, and it is truly amazing to watch [the students’] discussions deepen as they extend their learning skills.”
Bringing these new teaching tools to the classroom also creates a “win-win situation… [because] student engagement often correlates with achievement,” says Hames. On the other hand, he also points out the importance of setting boundaries so that children understand the difference between using technology for entertainment versus, “think[ing] of them as toolboxes to be used constructively”.
From what Hames has told me about his ever-changing experience as a teacher, the words “immediate”, “interactive”, and “collaboration” really stand out to me. These words resonate as he describes the environment and outcomes offered in elementary schools today. Today’s technology allows students to get in touch with their teacher or peers outside of the classroom, giving them the chance to do work at home just as they would at school.
Considering all the positives of having this new system of learning, maybe making comparisons to when I was a kid isn’t the best approach. Rather than looking at technology as a change, we should perhaps look at it as a development – one that brightens the current generation, and of course, will probably seem out-dated to the next!
Media offers a world of entertainment and learning possibilities for children and youth. The kidsmediacentre explores kids' media futures and is committed to supporting cross-platform content producers in Canada to ensure the kids' media industry is vibrant, indigenous and committed to the healthy growth of children.