Not Just Another App
Last spring I was asked to check out a couple of apps from a local company called Spinlight Studios.
AlphaTots and TallyTots.
Now, I’ll be honest.
I have absolutely NO personal background in teaching early elementary.
I filed the apps in the back of my mind, but retrieved them during workshops as suggestions for early elementary educators.
They were good.
Just not the kind of apps to which I could relate.
Then came TableTots,
an app by this same company that was released this week.
I downloaded the day it was released,
and I immediately became the “Spinlight Studio” stalker.
I emailed Spinlight Studios to let them know how excited I was about the app.
I played with it a little more,
and I called Mom to tell her to download it immediately.
I emailed the company again to back up my initial thoughts with more exciting praise.
I know what you are all thinking…
Mom and I have been downloading and playing with apps for use in the educational setting for quite some time now.
We are pretty selective when it comes to apps that we add to our presentations.
I must say, this one is a “no-brainer”.
TableTots immediately went to the “Top 10” portion of our workshop.
This app is the first app I have seen that allows teachers to use the iPad for interactive INSTRUCTION.
Effective interactive instruction, I might add.
Don’t get me wrong.
We are pretty creative girls who can turn almost anything into a learning experience for kids.
Can anyone say Virtual Bubblewrap for number patterns?
“Autotunes” and the Gettysburg Address?
But, what we have encountered is a slew of educational apps designed to review specific, individual skills, many in a Q&A format followed by some sort of game or incentive.
Not that there is anything wrong with that.
Quite frankly, that might be all that a handful of students needs to motivate and reinforce a skill with which they are struggling.
THAT, however, does not represent the style of teaching we advocate using on a regular basis.
TableTots DOES reflect our style of teaching…
This app starts with a “Table” which reminds me of a “placemat” for the iPad.
At least that is what popped into my head as I was playing.
There are quite a few of these from which to choose, which is fantastic.
Mom and I love to mix it up!
After you choose your table, you move on to the type of manipulative you want to use.
Letters, numbers, shapes, money, place value pieces, or dominoes.
Are you seeing the potential here?
Once you choose your manipulatives,
you can start teaching and interacting with your students.
Allow the kids to come up with problems and solutions of their own.
Customize it for YOUR curriculum, the skills YOU need to teach!
What a concept!
Honestly, the sky is the limit with this app.
There are so many applications that can be used for DIFFERENTIATED instruction.
Take for example, sorting coins.
Beginners could sort the coins by size,
while higher achieving students could combine the sorting into different amounts of money.
Even higher achieving students could create money math problems using these manipulatives.
I love the versatility!
Go download it…
and no, I am not getting paid for this review.
Instead, the Spinlight Studio Staff,
(I love alliteration…yes, I am a geek),
might be in the process of acquiring a restraining order.