Sing Along and Learn!
As an adult watching a pre-K student use the app, I appreciated the fact that there were so many different "levels" of learning available. For example, a very young child or one with special needs could simply navigate through the familiar song by clicking on the spider. As I previously mentioned though, some students might need some adult prompting to get them started. A different child might count to 10 with the squirrel by clicking on him to gather more nuts on the roof. Another child may most enjoy listening to the information relating to nature provided by the fly throughout the app on clouds, rainfall, the life cycle of a caterpillar and more. I think that my favorite part of the app was the ability to record the child's voice and have it play back instead of the song. Not only was this fun, but what a great way to have a child hear their own language development! This would be perfect for ELLs and students with speech challenges. For those reasons, I see myself sharing this app with not only kindergarten teachers as a nice way to introduce students to the iPads at school, but also with our district ESL classes, Autistic support classrooms, and speech teachers. In reality, with the limited budget we have for app purchases in our district, these special needs populations are likely the only groups that would be able to obtain funding for a paid app anyway. Fortunately, I believe that these same students would most benefit from using this app anyway.
How I Use It
Although I have yet to use this product in a classroom , the preschoolers that played it LOVED it! From the moment that they started there were lots of things for them to tap on to get both visual and audio responses - all while learning something new and interesting. The snail went into his shell, the frog jumped up in the grass, the flower on the window sill grew, and much more. Even after going through the song multiple times, they continued to be engaged by the changes that occurred when they clicked on various objects.
Since I work in a K-6 environment, I see this app being useful with early kindergarten students, but also with some special ed classes that we have, such as our extended day kindergartners, autistic students, and english language learners. For these students, the repetition would help them with language acquisition as well provide them with the opportunity for experiential learning.
Navigation within the app is not totally intuitive, but since kids like to tap on things, I think they would figure out how to move the spider from place to place to keep the song playing. Some students might benefit from an adult showing them how to get started. Once you go through the song once you can start collecting what looked like colored eggs. I didn't see any real point or relevance to this (you just put them in the spider web at the end) but the kids seemed to like it. Players can also put hats being carried by birds on their own or another character's head, which also just seems to be for their entertainment.
By using the record feature, youngsters are introduced to a technology skill that can then be later applied to their own digital story they can create using another app. I thought this was not only fun, but a practical skill.