Thursday, April 26, 2018

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Tech for Tiny Tots

Technology education for preschooler! Now that's not seen often, Why do we need such a complex thing for such small people? The fact is that it's the way our world is changing and will continue to do so even more while our lids grow up. It's happening around the world. We in India are not doing enough.

This is a developing article. We will add more information over the next few weeks to explain the topic in detail. We will also talk about how Tinkerdale is a pioneer in the country to bring this thought to India.

Why Technology Education for Preschoolers?

Makey Makey Banana Piano

In most modern preschools in the country we have adopted the approach of providing opportunities to children to learn about the things around us. This includes nature and people and common objects. We have theme-based books and activities on these topics. Have you ever questioned the selection of these topics? Who decided that we should include plants and animals and modes of transport and not our customs in the curriculum? Most schools still celebrate vatious festivals, but it isn't usually in the curriculum. That's because in the west the importance of customs and the diversity in customs isn't as significant as in our country.

We adopted the western curriculum at a time when the speed of communication was not as fast as it is today. And then we stopped looking at them enough to see how the world has moved on. In these times we can adopt changes in education at the same time the west adopts it, rather than waiting for something to become a standard there. We should eventually stop being followers and plan our curriculum according to the needs of our country.

Our country, just as any other progressive country, needs our kids to be technology savvy. They need to be prepared for the time when they are choosing a profession, about 15 years from today. When they are contributing to the progress of the nation and the world. Let's be aware that the gap between the rich and poor countries is increasing. The most important contributor in this is the difference in technologocal innovations. Developed countries own most of the intellectual property of new technology and we are paying heavily for it. We need to nurture innovators in our country and the earlier we start the better.

Read on to know about the Banana Piano.

How are preschool kids learning about technology?

The first and foremost is that there is an awareness in such schools for accepting change. Not only change but also the pace of change. Not every school is that progressive, but then there are leaders and followers.

Let's be clear that here we are not discussing the use of technology for education. We want kids to be curious about technology, just as they are naturally curious about nature and people. The difference is that nature and people are seen every day. Technology needs to be made available to them. They need to interact with technology and have fun with it. That's when they will start asking questions abut it.

Are there any technology-based activities in your preschool?

If you have any such activity in your prechool, hearty congratulations! You are one of the nation leaders. We would like to hear from you and share a note about you in this article.

Tinkerdale has been providing such opportunities to our prechool kids and they love these activities! We will sooon be sharing some of these activities here. Keep reading.

The Banana Piano

The technology bihind the Banana Piano was a 'casual invention'. It is called the Makey Makey, so that you can tell the kids to "go on, makey makey something"!

Makey Makey is a small circuit board, that connects on one side to a computer and on the other side to ... well, virtually anything. Anything that can conduct just a little bit of electricity. Each such connected object can work as a computer keyboard key. It is then up to us to make the key do something on the computer. It can play a music note, it can make Jerry jump. Whatever is possble to do with keyboard keys.

That's how we make the banana piano. On the cunputer we run a program that plays piano notes on press of keyboard keys. We then connect each banana to different ports of Makey Makey to emulate the respective keys of the keyboard. Simple!

Here's a video of one of our Tinkerer playing a set of drums through Makey Makey, which we created in a similar way as the Banana Piano.

The next activity is Squishy Circuits. A 3 year old can actually play with electric circuits!

Squishy Circuits

Did you know that PlayDo can conduct electricity? It can really be used as an electric wire. That's how squishy a circuit can be.