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Technology and media are educational tools that are effective only when used appropriately. A joint statement issued by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at Saint Vincent College indicates that technology and interactive media are here to stay. “Young children live in a world of interactive media. They are growing up at ease with digital devices that are rapidly becoming the tools of the culture at home, at school, at work, and in the community. When used wisely, technology and media can support learning and relationships. Enjoyable and engaging shared experiences that optimize the potential for children’s learning and development can support children’s relationships both with adults and their peers. There has never been a more important time to apply principles of development and learning when considering the use of cutting-edge technologies and new media. When the integration of technology and interactive media in early childhood programs is built upon solid developmental foundations, and early childhood professionals are aware of both the challenges and the opportunities, educators are positioned to improve program quality by intentionally leveraging the potential of technology and media for the benefit of every child”.

What Does Effective Use of Early Childhood Technology Look Like?

  • It has a point and is intentional. Early childhood educators should be informed and selective when choosing technology to be implemented within their program, taking into consideration child development and effective practices. As educators strive to be intentional with technology implementation, the question needs to be asked, “Can the learning goals be achieved more easily using traditional classroom materials or does use of a particular technology extend learning and development in ways not possible otherwise?”
  • It is interactive, engaging, and empowering. Technology implementation in early childhood doesn’t mean plopping kids down in front of a computer to zone out for long periods of time. In fact, early childhood educators should avoid passive non-interactive technology. Instead, by putting interactive and engaging technology in the hands of children and their educators, we are empowering them and giving them exciting new opportunities to learn from the world around them.
  • It is a piece of the complete overall learning experience. Developmentally appropriate technology should be only a piece of the overall learning experience and should not replace excellent traditional activities. Children use their senses to learn about the world around them, and they learn in a multitude of styles. Interactive and engaging technology can reach kinesthetic, auditory and visual learners simultaneously and can enrich the overall learning experience.

Educational technology tools that can engage little learners in a BIG way:

 

Square Panda Phonics Multisensory Sight, Touch, and Sound Playset for Kids Learning to Read:
  • The Square Panda playset helps children ages 2-8 learn to read through fun games grounded in research and uses a multisensory approach, combining sight, touch and sound in each play experience.
  • The system includes a playset, which doubles as a storage tray, 45 smart letters and access to a library of 11 free learning games. The playset works in tandem with your own tablet.
  • Square Panda provides access to a customizable database that stores children’s words, pictures, milestones and learning progress.
  • Learning games are available free to download on the App Store and Google Play Store and include Letter Lab, Square Land, Bowling, Jiggity Jamble, Bubbles, Space Cows, Fishing, Letter Lullaby, Farming, Lagoon, and Monster Rhymes.
  • Targeted concepts include learning the alphabet, learning letter sounds, phonics, spelling, vocabulary, word construction, reading fluency, rhyming words, word families, and more.
  • There are Home and Educator Editions available.
Osmois a unique educational gaming accessory that opens up your tablet to the infinite possibilities of physical play. Osmo’s advanced reflective technology bridges the real and digital realms. Osmo’s games are geared toward embodied learning, meaning the games teach abstract concepts by connecting them to objects and actions in the physical world.
Osmo offers games and apps for a wide range of academic subjects, including:

 

  • Coding (Coding Awbie, Coding Jam, Coding Duo)
  • Math (Numbers, Pizza Co.)
  • Drawing (Monster, Super Studio, Masterpiece)
  • Spelling (Words)
  • Fundamentals of Physics (Newton)
  • Spatial relational skills (Tangram)
  • World geography (Detective Agency)
  • Pre-reading, storytelling, fine motor (Little Genius Starter Kit)
In addition to teaching traditional subject matter, Osmo games foster social-emotional skills like problem-solving, creativity and perseverance.
Osmo games are designed for ages 3–12, according to game.
Wonder Workshop provides a fun way for children to learn fundamental coding skills through robotics with a family of award-winning robots and age-appropriate apps, which encourage hands-on play and learning to develop creativity, problem-solving skills and imagination. Their tailored activities promote STEM learning with personable robots (Dash, Dot, and Cue), accessories, and free software for your mobile devices designed specifically for kids ages 6+. There is a growing library of in-app puzzles, standards-based lesson plans, and annual robotics challenges. They offer professional learning opportunities that encourage a meaningful shift towards establishing a foundation for 21st-century learning.
Learning Resources Programmable Mouse STEM Activity Set brings the “hour of code” to life with this amazing programmable robot. Guide the mouse through a fully customizable maze with step by step programming. Connect the maze tiles to build an activity board. Ages 4+.
  • This coding set for kids turns coding into a hands-on analog activity for tactile and visual learners
  • As kids learn to program they build key skills that include critical thinking, problem solving, sequencing, and programming fundamentals.

 

  • Colby the Mouse lights-up, makes sounds, and features 2 speeds along with colorful buttons to match coding activity cards for easy programming and sequencing.
  • This coding set includes 16 maze grids, 22 maze walls, 3 tunnels, 30 double-sided coding cards, 10 double-sided activity cards, cheese wedge, and activity guide to provide a hands-on introduction to coding concepts.
  • A great hands-on tool to keep young children actively engaged in learning about coding.
Bluebee PalPro4.0 is an interactive plush learning tool with a FREE companion (life skills /educational) app that connects to all iOS and Android Devices and pairs with all apps with a narrative. The patented technology allows Bluebee’s “mouth and head” to move while reading stories, teaching through educational games, communicating through speech/AAC apps, learning a language and singing songs. The Bluebee Pals Learning App is a robust life skill and cognitive development tool for children ages 3 to 7. When connected to a Bluebee Pal, children can immerse themselves in activities in five life skills rooms and play 9 educational mini-games. In addition to their app, Bluebee Pals pair with all apps with a narrative providing endless entertainment and education for all mainstream and special needs children.
  • Bluebee is compatible with all apps with a narrative.
  • Bluebee inspires learning with educational apps.
  • Bluebee reads any storybook apps.
  • Bluebee teaches with language and AAC (alternative augmentative communication).
  • Bluebee sings with your favorite music apps.
  • Bluebee acts as an educational tool with voice recording apps.
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