If you're a parent, you may be very familiar with "show-and-tell" at school. It's an opportunity for kids to take something from home and share it with their teacher and class at school. Personally I think show-and-tell is a brilliantly activity for kids.
In fact show-and-tell is a very common activity in the Tech industry, where developers need to explain a piece of technical work to an audience. I've also been privileged to hear 100s of show-and-tell presentation by young coders at coding events across the UK.
Recently my 5 year old broke his arm at school. After a few days in hospital and at home, he was keen to share his experience with his friends at school. He came up with an ingenious idea.
The Problem. It can get quite annoying to repeat your story to the many people who asks - "How did you break your arm?" Since the incident my son's answers became shorter and more succinct to the point of - "Monkey Bars. Fell Off. Bent Arm." Then we were inspired by Tracy's son and his Talking Poster.
Talking Poster with Electro Mat
The Solution. We made an electronic poster (Talking Poster) using Bee-Bot's Electro Mats (also known as Talking Mat) to share his story with his class.
The Electro Mat is a simple piece of kit consisting of 4 plastic tiles, a recording device (control box) and sensors which are fixed under the tiles. The recording are activated by placing a magnet over the sensors.
The Electro Mats are made to work with the old style Bee-Bots, where a magnetic door on the underside of the Bee-Bot activates the recording.
We used one tile and connected 4 sensors, dividing the tile into 4 sections. My son, drew a picture of how he fell off the monkey bars and we printed out 3 more pictures showing an X-Ray of his broken arm, and his stay in hospital.
He recorded his story for each picture. At show-and-tell, he placed a magnet over each picture to playback the recordings he prepared at home.
Electro Mat vs Talking PointThe day my son broke his arm his class was using Talking Points to record their news. He missed out on the opportunity so his teacher let us use one at home.
The Talking Point allows you to make one short recording by pushing the top down. You then flip a switch on the back of the device to play your recording. I found this really tricky for little hands, as my son kept loosing his recording when he turned the Talking Point around to switch to playback.
The Electro Mat recording device we found much simpler to use and more versatile. You can make 4 different recordings on one device, each activated by its own sensor. You hold down a button on the control box to make your recording and playback is activated with a magnet on the connected sensor.
Kids love to record their own voice and the Electro Mat affords you more flexibility to make it fun and engaging.
Benefits of Show-and-TellMy kids love show-and-tell and I believe it's an important skill for their future.
- They build confidence to stand in front of a group of people.
- They learn to speak clearly and audibly for everyone to hear their news.
- They learn the importance of explaining something in a way that others can understand.
- Listening to someone else's news, helps them learn to listen, understand and show interest in other people.
- They can find other kids that have similar interests.
The Feedback. It was great fun doing something different with my son. He loved showing his Talking Poster to his class and the children were amazed at the magic of the technology.
(The class teacher has now asked me to come in and do more activities with the kids and our Talking Poster)