Acorn Grow

Description

Acorn Grow is described as ‘a simple, intuitive digital resource designed to support core Science topics as well as introduce language and literacy, research, and web skills to young and emerging readers’, but it does much more. It is a subscription service so schools will need to think about how much they will use it for and how long the school can embed the philosophy of the product in its science and literacy teaching and learning.

Don’t be taken in that this is just an ICT resource as it comes with some beautifully produced and photographed companion non-fiction texts available in packs, so it is truly a ‘blended resource’ covering such topics as: Green plants, Variation and classification, Living things in their environments and Life processes.

For those concerned about the use of ICT with very young children, it is a safe, secure, curriculum relevant product and internet environment that is not just a science tool but suitable for teaching ICT, with an emphasis on vocabulary and literacy.

We all know that parents are key to children’s literacy and this ICT product is aimed at being used at home as well for those families with computer access and broadband capability to be able to access video material. As part of the subscription, schools have access to reporting tools within the Teacher Zone, which will allow them to track usage information – this will help with assessment for learning profiles.

So how does it deal with reading? Colourful photographs and a huge variety of video material is bound to appeal to the imaginations of the children as well as making often-difficult scientific concepts easier. If we move through the scheme, it becomes clear that there is a large variety of material. Go in to ‘human body’ section for example and you will find six different sub-sections. Choose one, e.g. the five senses and read. Titles are read in an attractive voice so emergent readers can navigate appropriately – always an issue for teachers using ICT resources. Short texts accompany photos. Clicking a sound button allows text to be read and words are individually highlighted, so making the text and science concept accessible to all. Words in a different colour are available in a dictionary and glossary – both spoken as well – so there is an exploratory aspect to the reading.

Children can print an article page (will there be problems with them doing this all the time? Printer ink can be expensive! ), print an activity sheet, watch an accompanying video or play with interactive activities to support learning. There are a great many things to do so the subscription could be worth it. Schools will have to be clear why they are buying it. Is it for science or for reading? Some teachers will be looking for phonic-based text. They will not find it here. It is good that it is not phonic-based. It’s about real science-based language.

A separate Teacher Zone includes planning resources and activity sheets, which can be used for support as well as assessment.

Formats available

On Line Resource

Type

Non-Fiction | cross curricular

Company