Teacher Review for Daisy the Dinosaur

Computer Science for Preschool and Kindergarten? Why, yes!!

Lisa S.
Technology Integration Specialist
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My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, Arts
My Rating
Learning Scores
My Students Liked It Yes
My Students Learned Yes
I Would Recommend It Yes
Setup Time Less than 5 minutes
Great for Creation
Further application
Small group
Teacher-led lessons
Great with Advanced learners
How I Use It
With our youngest students (preschool - kindergarten) this tool is used to introduce some simple computer science concepts. Using a drag and drop interface, the user creates a program to move the dinosaur through a series of challenges. However, there is no audio support and some on-screen commands require reading, so independent use is not really an option. (The interface is a little too primary for our older students who are reading, in my opinion.) Adult or older student partners are required to use with non-readers. Another downfall to the design is that each time you enter the challenge mode, you must start over at the beginning. It was frustrating to students to have to do this when we used it. It would be nice if there was a user account that held on to progress so students could proceed to the appropriate difficulty. However, once all the commands are mastered in the challenge mode, users can enter free play mode to make Daisy do whatever program they write. Students can write programs to make Daisy move, turn, spin, roll and jump as well as shrink and grow in size!! Creating simple challenges for one another to try to program would be a nice class activity to do.
My Take
Overall, I like the app and think it is very valuable, but should not be used without adult assistance until the words that are on the command block can be mastered by non-readers. I also think it is important for adults to be helping children understand that when they use apps like this, they are "practicing" the work of computer scientists...not just playing games!!