First, a Montessori Music video game was announced to be released for the Nintendo DS, then an iPhone Montessori Math app from Montessorium was introduced and just last week, a brand new iPad app called Montessori Crosswords joined the growing trend of combining the name, but not always the accurate philosophy of true Montessori with technology.
Created by SouthPeak Games, Montessori Music is a video game designed for one player on the handheld Nintendo DS game system. Described by the designers as a hands-on activity that will teach a child basic music skills, the Montessori Music game focuses on terminology, sound patterns and musical notation. Use of the traditional Montessori bells either as a visual icon, or as a way to differentiate pitch or musical notes is not incorporated into this game. Montessori Music is scheduled to be released in March of 2011 and is currently available for preorder at amazon.com.
With the introduction of their Introduction of Math app for the iPhone, Montessorium utilizes the traditional Montessori material called Red and Blue Rods and Sandpaper Numerals to create what they describe as fun number puzzles and number tracing for children. Just released is its’ newest app called Introduction to Letters, which offers a child the ability to trace the Montessori Sandpaper letters and also allows a parent to record their own voice for a child to hear and repeat each letter sound. Slated for release in December, Montessorium’s newest app, Movable Alphabet will build upon the letter sounds and begin word building using the traditional Montessori material by the same name. Montessorium apps are available for purchase at the Apple App Store.
A French family design company, L'Escapadou, has joined the growing industry of Montessori app's for the iPhone and iPad with its release last week of Montessori Crosswords. This newest app is also inspired by the Montessori activity of word building using a red and blue moveable alphabet and object pictures in a crossword puzzle format. Montessori Crosswords offers 282 words, three levels of difficulty and 21 visual effects. Montessori Crosswords is available for purchase at the Apple App Store.
Is a video game or app a true Montessori hands-on activity?
True Montessori activities incorporate a child’s ability to manipulate real objects in order to freely explore using all of his or her senses. In the Montessori community, both parents and teachers are divided on the appropriateness of young children using these new technology activities rather real hands-on materials that require physical movement and social interactions. Additionally as a non-trademarked identity, the term Montessori may be used at will and the question, “Are these new games and apps really Montessori?” will continue to be a hot topic of conversation as this new industry grows.
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