Computers provide interactive lessons, promote socialization
Lesley Cannon still remembers the excitement of the children at Variety Hotelier House Children’s Centre when a large box was delivered to the day care last fall.
Not knowing what it was, the children assumed “a new big toy” awaited them and clamoured to see what was inside. Opening the box, Lesley says the children discovered a new computer and “they were really excited.”
The new computer was one of six Young Explorer units IBM donated to the Burnaby Association for Inclusion (BACI), enough to outfit each of the organization’s child care and out-of-school care centres with a new learning tool.
The computers, housed in brightly coloured, child-friendly Little Tikes consoles, are equipped with educational software to help children learn and explore concepts in math, science and language.
Lesley, who is a supervisor at Variety, says the children are enjoying playing the games, which teach skills in an interactive way.
“We can sit in front of them and do their colours and number skills but when it’s done through the computer it’s a different way of learning for them,” she says.
“Alongside that basic learning they’ve also got basic computer skills that they are picking up, and using the mouse is helping their fine motor skills.”
The Young Explorer unit also replaces an outdated computer that would crash often, adds Lesley.
“From the children’s point of view, they don’t have to wait and they aren’t disappointed when they get half way through and the game closes down,” she says.
IBM contributes about 100 Young Explorer units in Canada each year and several thousand globally, according to Dave Robitaille, IBM’s corporate citizenship and corporate affairs manager.
He says the program, which has been running for 12 years, is helping give children an opportunity to experience computers at an early age while their respective early learning organizations enrich their teaching skills by keeping abreast of 21st century technology.
BACI co-executive director Tanya Sather commends IBM for their contribution, along with Ernie Bodie, an IBM staff member and BACI board member who led the initiative.
“We are always looking for inclusive activities and developmentally appropriate and challenging activities for our kids that are fun, so (Ernie) spearheaded this,” she says, adding Ernie is a great community champion.
IBM also contributed toys, furniture and other materials to BACI centres about 18 months ago, for which they have been “eternally grateful for,” adds Tanya.
“It’s just another way that IBM supports its community. What a great organization they are and what a great person Ernie Bodie is.”
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