Isn’t it contradictory to put Montessori material on an iPad?

Many traditional Montessorians may feel that the flashiness and technological nature of the iPad does not fit with Montessori principles. We understand that perspective, have given it a great deal of thought, and have come out on the other side. . .

We want to meet the children of today where they are now -

While the children of the slums of Rome 100 years ago were thrilled and intrigued by the colorful wooden, metal, and bead materials Montessori provided, today’s child is in a different environment. Many are exposed to the fast paced flash of television, movies, cartoons, video games, and iPads at a younger age than we would like or advise. While some of these children do welcome the calming nature of the traditional Montessori materials, many are not as captivated by them as children of the past. By putting a material like the Stamp Game on the iPad, we are meeting children where they are now and giving them the advantage of the visual, manipulatable, semi-concrete material to further a real understanding of math operations in a fun, modern, and familiar platform.

We are providing yet another material for gaining understanding and increased abstraction –

Traditional Montessori materials provide many options for learning the same concept. For basic math operations in the Montessori classroom we have the golden beads, bead chains, the stamp game, the bead frame, dot paper, etc. The Stamp Game on the iPad is yet another of such tools. One material may speak to one child, one to another. We would recommend a child who has access to physical traditional Montessori materials, use those first, and use the iPad version as another means to further their understanding, increase their interest, decrease the fiddliness of the stamps – generally enjoy it more again so they get more practice and further understanding. At MontessoriTech, we specifically chose the Stamp Game, as it is a material that children use as they are moving towards abstraction of the math operations. The iPad version of the Stamp Game still provides concrete visualization and requires virtual movement of operands. It is a transitional step from the physical concrete material towards abstraction.

This technology can be considered an improvement to the traditional material -

The Stamp Game on the iPad, can bring Montessori material, albeit in a new form, to children who do not have access to a wooden stamp game at school or at home. It can take the visualization and manipulation that can be so instrumental to a deep understanding of the operations to children that would not otherwise have such opportunity. Additionally, there are some “improvements” within the application that provide features completely in line with Montessori principles. By moving the stamps on the pad, children are refining their fine motor skills in a way necessary for today’s touch screen environments. The number and exchange features, in addition to the answer screen, provide a natural control of error, that allows for more child independence and less teacher involvement than traditional use of the stamp game.

Thus, we feel this application is completely in line with Montessori philosophy. If only Dr. Montessori were here so we could show it to her! Please check it out and see what you think!