The purpose of this essay is to research a technological toy, I focused on Bee Bots, which I use in my setting, evaluate and critically analyse the effectiveness of that toy in promoting children’s learning. Later I will demonstrate my personal use of ICT and a record of use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) over a period of one month as a professional role in promoting children’s development in my setting. Finally, I will reflect on my tracking sheet and identify the opportunity to develop ICT in communication with parents. According to Siraj-Blatchford, Whitebread (2003) in supporting children in their development of an early understanding of ICT we are concerned to support them in learning about a wide range of products that are used to manipulate, store, retrieve, transmit or receive information not only computers. Most of the ICT applications that we are familiar with today are put to use in electronic products such as telephones, audio and video, CD player, recorders, computers, television. I am going to focus on a programmable toy – Bee Bot. I chose that particular piece of ICT toy as we use it quite often in our setting. Bee Bot is a bright and a colourful and multi-sensory programmable floor robot, suitable for use in Early Years. According to Morgan, Siraj-Blatchford (2009) the use of programmable toys in early years educational settings is based upon the constructionist teaching approach, which is underpinned by the idea that learning can happen most effectively when people are actively engaged with doing and making things in the real world and was first developed by Papert, in 1993. Bee Bot “enable young children to learn through play about control and directional language and provides a perfect ‘hands on’ introduction to robotics” (Sprainger, 2007). Sturdy construction and colourful, easy-to-operate design is a perfect tool for teaching alphabet, number recognition, fine motor skills by using the directional buttons, and social skills such as turn taking. Direction keys are used to enter up to forty commands which send Bee Bot forward, back, left and right. Pressing the green ‘Go’ button starts the toy on its way. “ Bee Bot blinks and beeps at the conclusion of each command to allow children to follow Bee Bot through the program they have entered and then confirms its competition with lights and sound” (Terapine Software, no date). It works on rough or smooth surfaces and is small enough to be used on a table (Inclusive Technology, no date). Bee Bot moves in 6”steps and 90 degree turns and compact size as well as durable material make Bee Bot child and classroom friendly. Bee Bot is equally adaptable to home and school environment, it can be use both indoor and outdoor and operates on three AA batteries (Interactive Learning in the Early Phase, No date). In 2005, Bee Bot was awarded a Gold Award at the Practical Pre-School Award in London and in 2006 Bee Bot was a winner of an Education Resources Award in the Primary ICT category awarded by The British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA), (TTS: Educational Supplies for Schools, Nurseries & Childminders , No date). After an initial introduction to the toy Bee Bot help children to engage in playful exploratory activity which allows for numerous opportunities such as self-initiated activity, which provide opportunities for quality adult-child and child-child interactions (Siraj-Blatchford, Whitebread, 2003). According to Light and Butterworth, activities requiring ‘joint attention’ and which involve ‘children learning to share’ provide a better cognitive challenge for young children than activities were they work alone” (Developmentally Appropriate Technology in Early Childhood, No date). Learning with the Bee Bot is a highly social experience and support communication and social skill development, children learn about negotiating, taking turns, sharing and peer work. The Bee Bot has the capacity to support children to develop a broad...
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