With so many toddlers already accessing iPads, smart phones and other devices, there is no shortage of app makers vying to respond to market demand. A new book by two US early childhood teachers and a neuropsychologist aims to empower educators and parents to take control of digital technology for their children.
Toddlers on Technology by Patti Wollman Summers, Ann Desollar-Hale and Heather Ibrahim-Leathers provides detailed advice for choosing apps in tandem with a child’s learning style, how to manage their screen time and provide a balance of activities, and presents research on screen time effects.
Aimed at parents but relevant to all who educate and care for ‘digitods’, the impetus for the book came when Early Childhood Teacher/Director Patti Wollman Summers noticed a great difference in the current crop of toddlers in her classroom, compared with those she had taught in her 30 years in education.
Believing the intellectual curiosity of these toddlers was “greatly advanced”, she and her co-authors set about producing “the first serious attempt by an educator, parent and grandparent to construct a map of options that allows us to chart new and productive paths for our youngest children in a digital world”.
The book provides a number of app reviews along with issues (or “bumps on the road”), features that are rewarding to children, tips for how each app might best be used by toddlers with a range of learning styles and a number “see saw activities” to build on their learning and expand their experience “from the cognitive to the physical, emotional and social arenas as well”.
The featured apps, which are aimed at children from 18 months to four years of age, include:
Wheels on the Bus
By Duck Duck Moose
For iPad, iTouch, iPhone, Android, Kindle Fire
It features an interactive music video and allows toddlers to drive the bus themselves, manipulating its direction and speed with a simple swipe.
By Piikea St. LLC
For iPad, iTouch, iPhone
It allows toddlers to listen to letter phonics and see an example of a word that begins with that letter sound.
For iPad, iTouch, iPhone
It presents a range of four-piece puzzles. Toddlers can drag puzzle pieces to their appropriate location.
By Spinlight Studio
For iPhone, iPad, Android
When toddlers press a number, a plane appears, dragging the number across the screen while a clear female voice counts from one up to that number.
Some of the apps recommended for four-year-olds (and beyond) include topic areas such as literacy, emotions and empathy. One of the latter is a pair of ebooks by One Globe Kids about children in Haiti. They “give a glimpse into the children’s daily lives” and enable toddlers to compare and contrast them with their own lives.
Full reviews of these and more are contained in the book and will be added to at www.digitod.com.