Love it or hate it, technology is going to be a big part of our lives going forward. I remember when I was in third grade - I was one of the very first classes of young students to be introduced to computers for learning. The very first computer ever set before me was an old Macintosh - a machine that would look completely archaic to most people today. I believe having been introduced to that technology at an early age gave me an advantage in terms of many skills I use today.
Now, my daughter, not even three yet - has been exposed to more technology than ever before - iPads, iPhones, and yes, now even the MacBook. And while we do limit her exposure - I find that her intelligence and ability to navigate and use technology is incredible. She learns new skills extremely fast when interactive technology is involved.
I have been doing a very flexible home preschool schedule with Zion since late Fall last year, and I am often seeking out a variety of learning tools to incorporate all of her interests. We recently became acquainted with an online learning resource called Reading Eggs. Developed for children ages 3-13 years of age, Reading Eggs offers a variety of different engaging and interactive programs to help the earliest reading skills develop and the developing readers to practice and increase their reading skills.
Zion is currently working her way through their First Steps program which is geared towards 3-4 year olds. The curriculum and activities range from basic letter and sound recognition to small word formation. Each lesson is short and enjoyable - featuring an array of colorful characters, song breaks and completion rewards.
Even at just over 2.5 years old, I am impressed by Zion's ability to navigate through the lessons, and comprehend the lesson instructions. I would say that she can do about 65% of the lessons independently with most help being needed when certain click and drag skills are required (a hard gesture to master with her little hands).
We probably do anywhere from 1-2 hours of lessons on Reading Eggs per week. She constantly asks me if she can do "schoolwork on the computer" - and she seems to really enjoy the lessons. As for her understanding and progress in reading? In the couple of months we've been using the program, she definitely demonstrates an increase in word recognition - and has nearly mastered all of the letter sounds. I personally like the variety of learning lessons it offers, as well as the introduction to basic computer skills.
What kinds of online learning resources have you used for your kids? How do you balance a desire to limit technology with the recognition that technical skills will be an important part of your child's future?
I received an extended free trial membership to Reading Eggs for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are my own.