Practical Pre-School 2007 Gold Award citation
A very popular program in pre-school settings and beyond with extremely good graphics and clear instructions. Catered for all differrent levels of maths, counting became more challenging with moveable objects and counting backwards. Children could work alone as the program is self-correcting. Lots of good verbal praise given for correct answers, and examples were given to reinforce learning. The program was tested with an additional Gujarati-speaking element. Children speaking this language were delighted to hear Gujarati spoken clearly and understood what was being asked of them.
The Guardian Review
. . . Pond has a rural setting where friendly creatures invite small children to test and develop their basic arithmetic using the numbers up to 10.
Some cheerful teddy bears . . . set up a picnic on the grass. Are there enough items of food for them all?
. . . Ducks swim about the pond . . . How many are there of each colour? How many altogether? The questions evolve naturally from the attractive images, and are asked and answered by speaking voices as well as by writing on the screen.
. . . It's easy to move from game to game and to edit the configurations so that timings and sound effects match the needs of individual players. This is a breath of fresh air in the sometimes stuffy world of early years maths.
Extract from a review by Tom Deveson in The Guardian, Tuesday 20 March 2007
The schoolzone evaluation
Pond has four highly visual and interactive counting activities, aimed at early years and foundation stage children. It allows children to practise counting numbers to ten, however, Pond does much more than this. The activities also reinforce different skills, such as one to one correspondence and how many more/fewer than. Instant feedback is provided for the pupil to try again if incorrect. In each of the activities, pupils complete a pre-determined number of rounds (easily adjusted using the teacher settings) and are then rewarded by a short animation of the characters from the activity. All activities have an immediately attractive, child-friendly format and are perfectly suited to being used with a whole class on an interactive whiteboard, or networked for use on stand-alone PCs.
The children quickly learned how to use the different activities, using either the touch facility of a whiteboard, a mouse, keyboard or a switch, according to the needs or preferences of the children. Each activity can be easily tailored to the individual needs of the learner; the title screen shows 6 buttons, each can be set up to run whichever activities the teacher requires and also how they are used. With a selection of available settings (such as, number to count up to, fading background) Pond easily allows for a good level of differentiation.
Pond is also compatible with the publishers Talk·2·Talk feature, which allows other languages to be incorporated into the activity and then selected solely or spoken with another. Currently available are French, Gujarati, Punjabi, Polish, Spanish, Urdu and Welsh in addition to English. As a school with a significant number of EAL learners, this facility proved a wonderful bonus. In one class, we used Gujarati and English together, which allowed for our Reception class to hear numbers to ten in both English and Gujarati together and supported a newly arrived Gujarati speaking pupil.
Pond quickly became one of the pupils' favourites and, with the available adjustments and the use of the language feature, working with individuals and as a whole class was easy and fun.