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Hi, we are a pre-school in a church hall, i can't decide whether

to invest in a computer which we will have to push in and out of the cupboard everyday, a couple of laptops, or spend the money on something else to cover ICT in the pre-school, just wondered what others do and what ideas you had... I don't want to make the wrong decision..... How do you cover ICT in your building when you have to tidy away all the time, this is an area we have to impove for ofsted as well......

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hi

Faced with the same dilemma and after much thought we opted for a laptop. Just bought one (only 14 children per session) and two years on it was definitely the right decision for us.

 

In fact it is often the one item we do not 'set up' before the children arrive. They love being involved in opening the case and setting it up. It also enables their learning 'about' ICT as opposed to 'with'.

 

The older/more able children like being able to choose whether they use the ordinary style mouse or whether they use the track pad on the laptop.

 

For us one of the deciding factors was lack of space to store a trolley large enough to hold a destop PC. For security reasons it is nice to know that the laptop is not left on the premises overnight

Good luck with the decison making.

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We have (or will have this week) a laptop and three-in-one inkjet printer on a mobile computer trolley (we too have to pack away every day).

 

ICT is always a tricky area isn't it? Its easy to get hung up on computers and the like and forget about all the other opportunities we offer to push buttons to make things happen, tape recorders, cameras etc that children play with on a daily basis.

 

I keep looking at bee-bots in the catalogues and wondering if I should invest in one but do think of these as being more for primary school children. Does anyone use these successfullly in pre-school?

 

As for your decision, simcity I would guess it depends on your overall ICT provision. If you're only lacking a computer I'd invest in a robust laptop and printer/photocopier on a sturdy trolley that can be wheeled around as necessary. The children love photocopying their pictures for their 'special books' so they can take the original home for mum!

 

Happy shopping!

 

Maz

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owwlucky you Maz.. we are in the same position and have a comp that we pull in and out when we have the time (Early Years head teacher assigned to our setting ) came to se us last week - guess what comp wasnt out and she picked uss up on it!!!!!! :o ..typical!

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hi

 

Ohhh the bee bots are a HUGE success in our preschool. We initially had 2 but now have four and can't remember how many mats!

 

We got ours from Early Learning Credits and the sainsbury's vouchers (or maybe it was tesco's!!) the parents came up trumps in collecting and giving us the tokens.

 

The children love them and they are freely available - the language amongst the children that results has been a real eye opener and they really do cover all areas of learning.

 

Just last week we have bought an attachment - think it is a digger but haven't had a chance to really look at it yet.

 

I have found the older children have great discussions over sharing and where they are going to send the bee bot on the mat, then they work out how many times they need to push which arrow. It has also resulted in acting as a memory trigger of things the children have done/places they have been. One child programmed the bee bot to go to the park which prompted another child to talk about a recent trip to the park she had had with her grandparents . Of course it doesn't always end up at the intended destination but that results in hoots of laughter and another attempt. The younger ones tend to just push the buttons and see what happens but enjoy it just as much if not more, as the older/more able ones.

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Our children love the Fisher Price Camera which has been very robust and we are impressed with it.Inside and out they help themselves to it.We've done some lovely work (and its made a great display).We looked at David Hockney pictures and gave the children free range to take photo's outside.We've got close-ups of leaves, sun on the fencing, each other.I used the staff camera to take pictures of the children taking pictures for their learning journeys files.My favourite was twins taking pictures of each other.

We only print a small selection and download some for the IAWB (or a laptop would be ok) as a rolling screen saver slideshow. The children are happy to just view their photo's instantly on playback.

 

They also like the digtial scales, digital clock and calculators in our numeracy area.

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Thanks Geraldine - will put them at the top of my wish list.

 

I'm just waiting for the end of the year to see how much money I've got left in the kitty - rather spend it on resources than pay tax on it, after all! :o

 

How many children are in your group Geraldine - am wondering if one will be enough..

 

Maz

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owwlucky you Maz.. we are in the same position and have a comp that we pull in and out when we have the time (Early Years head teacher assigned to our setting ) came to se us last week - guess what comp wasnt out and she picked uss up on it!!!!!! :o ..typical!

Well this is the laptop we got on loan for our Foundation Degree Hali - am putting it to good use now that I treated myself to a new one. Mind you, I need to make labels for the keys - have worn the letters off....

 

During our Ofsted inspection our computer wasn't in use (the children had picked off most of the keys and it was very sad indeed). Luckily she saw it in the cupboard and so she knew the children had access...

 

I have to say that when the computer is out every day the children do tend to ignore it after a while. So not having it out for the odd day doesn't cause a problem in my humble opinion. I'm sure you have other opportunities for children to use ICT in your setting Hali!

 

Maz

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We bought a lap top and it is very popular although unfortunatley like someone else one of he children picked off a numerof keys so they are not as robust. I think we took our eye off the case, some of the children have very good skills, perhaps a little too good. Some children are very keen on it so we have both a sand timer and an alarm so tha children know when their time is up - acts as a visual reminder and an audible reminder to us so we know that their time is up - the clever ones kknow to turn the sand timer over and are quite adept at doing this discretely.

I also like th bee bot, I use it on a table in my builders tray so that it doesn't fall off and get damaged - works really well and we make up all sorts of games with it.

We also purchased a child's video camera which was quite hard to use and I dropped it in the pond so never seemed to work as well. I think the later designs are easier to use for the children.

Having a lap top is good as you can then use it for other things too at home. They are not as robust and you do need to really get children to respect this but this is good in itself

nikki

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We have a flat screen LCD monitor that is on a trolley along with all the other bits!!!! We have to put it away every day - my husband fixed the wiring to the trolley frame, added a fourway socket and all we have to do is plug one plug into the wall socket. Obviously it's not ideal having to move computers around daily because of connections but as we have to put everything away everyday, it has to be done. If we get another grant for hardware from our LEA I will probably get a robust laptop.

We have remote control cars and remote control motor bike, a cash register, a microwave, a CD player,personal stereo and a BeeBot for ICT. Hopefully that will cover all needs !!! Perhaps a camera that the children could use or a camcorder later, when we have the money for them.

 

Sue J

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we have the same storage/ setting up and tight budget problems

Our early years advisor suggested - "aspects of ICT"

aquiring old keyboards, laptops typewriters, calculators (£1 shop) phones TV hand controls and use them for a role-play office which we have done and we can throw is all into a box at the end of session

 

we also have a digital camera and tape player and a box full of toddler vtech toys

 

dont know if this will be enough to satisfy Ofsted?

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Lucky enough not to have to pack away so we have a computer set up all the time...the children love it but like Nikki says it can cause a few problems with turn taking...so we use an alarm to let the children know when there turn is over!

At first the computer was on all the time but now it does get left off.....if the children ask if they can have the computer on then it goes on. We have had a couple of parents mentioning that they didn't like their child to be on the computer all the time!

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We have just purchased a laptop for the children to use (and we adults will get to do some work on it too!),with a printer, so it all goes in tomorrow for th first time and we'll see the reactions! We have also ordered a Fisher Price camera, and I'm glad to see the positive comments about them above! It will enable the children to take and print their own photos, which I'm really looking forward to.We were lucky enough to be given a small grant from a local organisation, which has helped towards the costs.We have previously been given old, battered, past their sell-by- computers which were always on their last legs when we get them, so it will be fabulous to have brand spanking new stuff! (apart from anything, the chaps at the local recycling place were starting to ask questions about why I was over there, dumping PC's so often!)

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I braved it and invested in the Tuff Cam in the end. It's a camera with a large screen which is excellent, and they don't have to hold it up to their eye - they hold it out at arm's length and then press a trigger.

 

It's also a video camera too.

 

It's fab - but likes to eat batteries!

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If you could buy just one piece of software for your computer, which one would it be? There is so much software on the market these days...and none of it cheap......that I would really appreciate some personal recommendations before forking out! :o

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2 Simple do some good software for early years.

 

We have a couple of pieces at school- the 'infant toolkit' is very good. Has basic paint, word processing, control and data handling. We also have 'Maths 1' but its quite basic for my reception class.

 

Another really good one is 'simple city'. It has areas like farm, garage, cafe, hospital etc. There are interactive activities, video clips, games etc that like to each area. They also have have different levels.

 

You can get items on approval. I would definately recommend simple city and the infant toolkit.

 

Find out more here:

http://www.2simple.com/

 

 

Hope that helps. Bethie xx

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  • 3 months later...

Just a note to all you lovelies out there,

 

I used to work in an IT dept for a large construction firm - guess what we ended up doing with all our old laptops/pc's/mobile phones/coffee machines too? Yep, they were binned! Maybe writing to a number of groups (not just IT based ones) would provide you with a freebie!?

 

It's certainly worth a try! :o

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Guest Wolfie

Hmmm, I do sometimes wonder just how much stuff these big companies bin that could be recycled effectively by us?!! :o

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Hmmm, I do sometimes wonder just how much stuff these big companies bin that could be recycled effectively by us?!! :o

 

 

I used to feel gutted - especially when I manned the IT helpdesk and had to explain to various company directors that their new laptop wouldn't work because they needed to plug it in first and charge it up!!! The best one was when one of the directors wanted the latest laptop and he bought in his old one, stating he'd had an accident and run over it in the car! Although it still worked, Management stated he needed a new one! The It techhies took a marker pen to the outside of the old one and drew tyre tracks on it before it went away...makes me sooooo cross!

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