Zoomy Fab Educational Toy
Hello it’s Emma again! As most of you are aware, I am an Early Years Teacher. I have been a qualified teacher for four years teaching Nursery, Reception and Key Stage One. Please feel free to get in touch and ask any questions or even suggest themes for the newsletter and blogs that you want to learn about.
So this month I have been using the Zoomy 2.0 handheld digital microscope. My honest opinion about this product……. I have fallen in love, as have the members of my class. It is so simple to use! Simply download the CD onto a laptop or desk top, plug in the USB cable attached to the camera and you are away! The Zoomy features 54X magnification, easy to use buttons for little hands, 2 head adapters and 4 LED lights. I cannot stress how easy this is for the three year olds in my class to use. This can also be shown on an interactive whiteboard, so if you are a teacher the Zoomy 2.0 is great for whole class sharing.
Affectionately named the ‘zoom zoom looky’ by my class, this has become my new best friend for supporting the little ones in my class to find their voices and become inquisitive in the world around them. It has shown the children parts of plants and living creatures they would never have seen otherwise. The Zoomy has given the children in my class an interest in nature and has created a buzz about the world around them. It is so simple to use and very child friendly. I have lost count of the times it has been pulled, dropped and thrown yet it is still working as if it has just come out of the box (however I do not recommend treating your Zoomy this way!!!). The first few times we used it we ensured that there was an adult present to model and support the children. We showed some of the children how to use it once and within half an hour they were showing us how to use features we didn’t even know existed. I guess that’s the modern three year old for you!
Now I don’t want to pretend that this is going to change your child’s life. It won’t. But it will enhance their learning and give them a perspective on the world that they would never encounter otherwise. There is a little boy in my class who I am going to call Daniel (as a disclosure I just want to clarify this is not his name). Daniel is a very very shy, reserved individual. It has taken him most of the school year to feel confident in the setting and begin to interact with his peers. On the first day the Zoomy was being used, Daniel watched his peers from afar as he pretended to complete a puzzle. On the second day, Daniel sat at the table watching his friends zoom in on plants and flowers they had found in the garden. He did not speak or try to join in, he just sat and watched. On the third day, Daniel had the central role in the group. Daniel was suggesting what we could look at next and directing his friends to fetch him things to hold under the Zoomy. Daniel was so immersed he ‘forgot’ he was shy. He beamed with confidence, he suddenly lit up with vocabulary, and he was excited to be sharing experiences with his friends. Daniel was no longer the quiet boy that I would worry about how to engage. Daniel is now the boy excited by mini-beasts and animals. He’s the child bursting with questions which he is desperate to find answers for and it all started with a small handheld digital microscope called Zoomy. Unfortunately, I did not just find inspirational stories of children finding their feet. I did have a frustrating first five minutes trying to figure out how to get it to stop being so….Zoomy! The 54X magnification is intense and it takes some getting used to so that objects and creatures can be seen clearly. Creepy crawlies that cannot sit still are not great to look at with the Zoomy as it cannot focus when being moved constantly. However, we managed to look at caterpillars, woodlice and slugs that were very patient and sat beautifully for us. Year six borrowed the Zoomy and had a great time looking at skulls and body parts during their topic sessions. They compared their finger tips and were amazed by the intricacy of the human bod, which proves this isn’t just for little hands but almost adolescent hands.
I cannot express how beneficial this has been to 45 children in my class and their learning over the last few months. It’s started to open their minds up to concepts of size and just how tiny things can be. The Zoomy has created a language to develop in children that have severe special educational needs. It is not a miracle worker but it is a great way to help your little miracle develop to be the best that they can be.