Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Montessorium apps for iPad/Pod

Lolly loves the Montessorium apps.  I'm aware of the controversy of attempting to 'translate' Montessori to this kind of technology.  To some extent, I agree with the critique.  But, I thought I'd try out the Montessorium numbers app with Lolly and was really impressed.  Lolly particularly likes the number tracing, and this is the application's strength, in my opinion.

Montessorium - Intro to Math:  This is a beautifully presented application, with several Montessori-based games.  I agree that "red rods" on the application lose too much in not being a three dimensional object that a child can feel and move around.  Lolly hasn't done the red rods at Nido, she's probably a tad young anyway, but I do think if a child had done the rods successfully in "reality" then they'd enjoy the application version.  Same with the counter activity.

So, I agree with the critics of these applications that there are aspects than need to be experienced viscerally by the child.  However, Lolly has definitely engaged with the application, and frequently chooses it.  Is it "wrong" to give a child an online version of a Montessori based activity?  I don't think so.  So long as they are supported to continue to interact in three dimensional physical ways with these (and other) activities as well. Ideas on how to do this are included on the Montessorium blog - try this post.

That said, the "sandpaper" numbers in the app are very similar to the "real" thing.  Lolly loves doing this activity!

Here's the Intro to Letters version of tracing -

While, admittedly, the child can't feel the texture, the sound and lines that appear when the app letters are touched provide a very real interface, and from what I can see with Lolly, seems just as "real" to her.  She has only recently begun tracing activities on the iPad/Pod, but chooses them repeatedly at the moment, so is obviously interested and engaged by it.  I purchased the letters version of the Montessorium app and she is really enjoying tracing the letters, too.  It seems to me that the action of tracing with her finger is pretty identical to tracing a sandpaper letter with her finger, so in that sense I think this activity is closer to the "real life" physical version of it.  So, it's more successful for her at the moment.

The apps are both beautifully presented, a little pricey at $4.99 each, and as yet there is no combined version of the two apps, but I can see that as Lolly grows and is exposed to more of these activities at Nido and school, that we'll get long term use out of both applications.  I'd definitely recommend them to all parents, especially those interested in Montessori, who have an open mind about it all!

Would you use a Montessori application for your young child?


Rachel said...

I was wavering on whether to buy them, I think I will now. Thanks for the review.

tanika said...

Your assessment of the math app is exactly correct. It is a little harder for my 3 year old to use the rods, but her skill with it grows as it does with anything. It reinforces her counting and number recognition almost effortlessly. Just now she exclaimed "I wanna do red blue rods 'cause I just like it!" We also have the letter sounds app. My daughter loves both of these. As she got the hang of tracing the letters, her level of "writing" skill within the app has really taken off, compared with where she was just 2 or 3 weeks ago when we started using it. There are also many levels of learning within the apps that she can build on. We still count household objects,etc. at home, but at $4.99 each, and compared with what manufactured Montessori materials cost, I think these are a quick (and portable),cost effective home supplement for reinforcing what she is learning in school. As a bonus, she's building computer skills. These apps have exceeded my expectations and I'm looking forward to more products from this company.

Seema Karecha said...


I am Seema Karecha, an illustrator and a mother to two little angels. Me and my better half have recently developed two simple yet very elegant apps for children. Thought of sharing them with you.

Just Numbers :
Just ABCD :

Thank you.