INTEGRATED PROJECT 026
The Role of ICT as a Support To Learning
I have used Magic Circus with Junior and Senior Infants for the past month. Two children usually work together on this programme at any given time. Magic Circus was used by the children during free play in the morning and also at break - time; not usually during class time, as it was a very loud and noisy piece of sodtware which needed to be turned up to a certain level, in order to be of benefit to the children. Ear phones would be necessary if it was to be used during class time.
There are three levels of difficulty in this programme. Each level is designed to be appropriate for the child's motor skills and skills progression. I found that Level 1 was too easy for the children so we began with Level 2. The children found it very easy to follow the instructions, which were very clear.
The first activity is a Listening and Memory activity. It is called "Peek - a - Boo with Katie Kangaroo" Level 2 involved pointing and clicking the mouse on the appropriate item to make the action happen. Level 3 involved clicking and dragging the mouse to move items to the appropriate places. This was particularly beneficial to those who have difficulty controlling the mouse.
"Sorting Shapes with the Circus Seal" is the second activity. It involves sorting shapes by colour or by shape. This is a fun exercise but helps to reinforce what they have already learnt about shape and colour in Mathematics.
A very good exercise in sequencing pictures is to be found in the thirs activity which is called "Mixed up Pictures with Penelope Pony" All the pictures are mixed up. Penelope Pony will help to work out the sequence.
The fourth activity is "Dressing the Clown Bears" Level 2 and Level 3 requires the child to drag the correct size of each piece of clothing to the matching bear. This is a good experience in estimation.
"Follow Carol's Circus Train" and "Learning Letters with Pathe Poodle", a matching and sequencing activity and an exercise in number and letter recognition. Level 3 in both seems more appropriate for the more able child.
Junior Infants particularly enjoyed "Counting Biscuits with Ella the Elephant". It consisted of feeding the correct number of biscuits to match the number that Ella is showing. This activity helps to reinforce number and also the value of number.
Music and rhythm activity in "Roaring Rhythm with Rumba the Ringmaster" was a favourite with all the children. They enjoyed listening to six songs on Rumba's music machine and were also able to watch a fun music video.
This computer programme was thoroughly enjoyes by all the children. It was very educational and entertaining. At the end of each activity the player received a reward which was an added bonus. I consider "Magic Circus" to be an excellent piece of software. However, if it was to be used in the classroom, earphones are essential.