iBoard and Control

If anyone is looking for a fantastic resource set, for introducing on screen control to younger students, yr 1 and Reception, checkout the iboard resources from Electronic Blackboard. I used three games today with my year one group, from the iboard purple "control it" set, called Cheese sniffer, pollen hunter and fly catcher. As young and relatively inexperienced computer users, many of this group are still learning mouse control, and developing screen to hand coordination. These games enabled a multi pronged approach. They involved
  • Mouse control practice
  • Coordinating actions on screen with mouse movements
  • Decision making about which directions to send the game characters in,
  • Visual problem solving
  • Turn Taking
Cheese sniffer is a two person game, involving input, to control either a grey or pink onscreen and furry mouse. The aim, for your mouse to gobble as many pieces of cheese as possible before your partner's does. It uses an onscreen arrow pad, featuring right, left, up and down to input movements. Children take it in turns to input up to 5 moves before their pad fades indicating the next players turn. Whoops, cheers and much giggling was a key feature of the children's engagement and enjoyment of the tasks. As an IWB resource, as we modelled the activity, it was soon highjacked by the children, giving instructions to their friends from the carpet space. Great fun.

Pollen Hunter, expands on cheese sniffer, with again only four directions, but this time is a maze type game for one player at a time. The aim is to control the flight of your bumble bee as it tries to collect pollen from on screen flowers, before he is caught by a hungry bird. What appealed to me about this was the speeds you could choose for the birds flight, described as "gentle," "slow," and "fast."

Fly Catcher is another one person maze type game, but this time with an 8 direction arrow pad. Here we pretend to be a spider sitting in his web. The aim to control the spider and to try to catch and eat as many flies as possible before they fly away.

For spatial language development, these are fantastic resources, for using to consolidate through paired, group or class discussion, terms such as forward, backwards, up, down, right and left, the foundation of any work we want to do using floor turtles for example, but also particularly useful in the early mathematics curriculum. They are also great for encouraging and consolidating the kinds of cooperative and turn taking activities we expect and want to develop when children work in pairs on the computer, such as the use of gesture and talk, rather than taking over the mouse. Great fun as both standalone tools on individual computers and on the electronic whiteboard. As an advocate of a tool box approach to ICT use in teaching and learning, these are just three of an amazing array of cross curricular materials available in the iboard toolkits, but which will definitely be embedded in our scheme of work as it is reviewed.

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