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December 2014: Tablet Roundup, Writing to Read, Curriculum Cave In, Cruise Ships Writing to Read

Children’s Technology Review
December 2014
Volume 22, No. 12, Issue 177

“If you believe in the importance of tutoring individual children, but can’t have 10 million teachers for 10 million children, you can use a computer. It becomes an individual tutor, acting as typewriter, primer, tape recorder and television screen. It produces color, sound and even chant. John Henry Martin, creator of Writing to Read, from the New York Times in 1982, online at http://www.nytimes.com/1982/08/24/science/about-education.html

It’s Time for “Curriculum Cave In” on a Global Level

Twenty seven years ago (1987), a new technology-centered, individualized early literacy curriculum was hot stuff. It was called Writing to Read (or WTR), and it was published by IBM. As 1990 approached, the IBM PR machine was in full swing, and I was five years into my career as a software reviewer, at the High/Scope Foundation. I saw John Henry Martin speak at an IBM sponsored conference and can recall how passionate he was about his mission to give “every child the right to read.” See the LA times write up of the John Henry Martin story, at http://lat.ms/1tClIWb. The pitch was echoed by the IBM leadership, especially James Dezell, who also liked to talk about a concept that I began to call “curriculum cave in.” It went like this: “What if every child suddenly walked into first grade already knowing how to read? (Thanks to IBM, of course). All the other instruction would cave in, leaving more time for enrichment activities like writing, music and the arts. Our schools could be transformed. Read more in the December 2014 issue ($59/year for 12 issues).

LET’S TAKE JOHN HENRY MARTIN’S IDEA, APPLY IT TO 2014 TECHNOLOGY, AND DO IT ON A GLOBAL SCALE In his Dust or Magic talk, Tinsley Galean of the Global Literacy Project said “we’ve stumbled across a new way to think about learning. It activates a curiosity in kids because we’re giving these tablets to kids and letting them explore on their own.” He told us that, according to UNESCO, there were 800 million illiterate people in the world. If such an intervention could help 170 million achieve literacy, it could result in a 12% reduction in global poverty. “We think there’s a real shot at making this a reality in our lifetime.” John Henry Martin was right but he used the wrong tools. We now have the hardware and software to make John Henry Martin’s dream come true. 

Watch Tinsley Galean pose the big question: Can we bring 120 million into literacy, and reduce world poverty by 12% in our lifetime?  

“Going Global” at http://youtu.be/_aijSYr7gJ0

Presenters: Tinsley Gaylean and Stephanie Gottwald; the Global Literacy Project and Lainey Franks; Breteau Foundation; moderated by Claire Green, Parents’ Choice Foundation on November 3, 2014, Lambertville NJ.

LittleClickers: Cruise Ships

What’s four times bigger than the Titanic and can carry almost 8,000 people? Here are some sites and videos to help you learn more about some amazing vacation machines, also known as cruise ships.  Read more in the December 2014 LittleClickers.

Angry Birds Go! Jenga Pirate Pig Attack Game, 8
Brainzy, 8
Bramble Berry Tales – The Little People*, 8
Classic Experiments in Science History, 9
CotBot City*, 9
Driveclub, 9
Electric Sums – Lumio Addition & Subtraction, 10
Foos, The: Hour of Code*, 10
Gigi and Lily, 10
Homes, 11
iBiome-Wetland, 11
InnoTab Game: I SPY Adventure, 12
Joy of Reading, The*,  12
Joy Sprouts, 12
KidZoo Books, 13
Kindle Voyage, 13
Labo Pebble Art Released,13
Land of Venn, The: Geometric Defense*, 14
LeapPad Ultra XDi, 14
Math Shake With Schools, 15
Milk Hunt: Kids Math Game, 15
MobyMax Tablet, 15
Molecules by Theodore Gray*, 16
Mr. Cupcake Has The Sprinkles, 16
My First Tap, 17
Nabi Big Tab HD, 17
Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna), 17
Penguins of Madagascar: Dibble Dash, 18
Phonics with Phonzy, 18
Q, The, 18
Sago Mini Road Trip*, 19
Shield for iPad Air, 19
Tipster, 19
Toca Nature*, 20
Zuzu’s Bananas: A
Monkey Preschool Game*, 20
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