Skip to Content

Bim! Bam! Boogaloo!

  1. Published by Lugo Learning

  2. Cross curricular

  3. Foundation Stage, KS1

Foundation Stage Classroom Evaluation by Miles Berry

General overview of the title
Bim! Bam! Boogaloo! is an interactive computer program aimed at Early Years children with a range of different curriculum foci. It was designed and created by an Early Years teacher with 15 years experience and this shows in the range of programs and features on offer. It covers numeracy and literacy concepts as well as simple music, art and memory games. The layout is straight-forward and child-centred which promotes independent learning and selection of programs. The layout is simple and is easy for staff and children to use. It has a selection of features targeted at SEN children and uses both sound and animation effectively to make learning dynamic, engaging and fun.

How did you use the title with your class
My setting is predominately a free flow environment so I set up the program on our touch screen plasma television and modelled methods and games to children who showed an interest. The children accessing the program were aged three-four years old. Two children with Down’s syndrome also accessed the program as well as three children with English as an additional language (EAL). The EAL children accessed the software equally as well as their English speaking class mates and the clear voice-over helped build vocabulary. The ability of the children ranged greatly. I had it available for 4 x 3 hour afternoon sessions, 12 hours in total, and I observed the children for three hours on different days. I mainly worked with small groups of no more than four children on a range of the software’s features. I also used the software on one occasion with a story group of 18 children. Children stayed at the program for up to 30 minutes but most children completed one or two games and then moved on to different activities. The nature of the software is such that it lends its self to such use.

Special Needs
Two children with Down’s syndrome used the software during my observations. The children, a girl and a boy, found the software engaging and especially enjoyed using the paint and sensory play features. The children liked the sounds and animations and the boy found the praise features (clapping and fireworks) funny and rewarding. The paint program was especially effective with the animated colours and brushes adding a different dimension and prompted vocabulary extension. The girl referred to the moving circles as ‘bubbles’.

How your pupils used the title
Children learned quickly how to use the software. Most children learned the key features within 5-10 minutes. It mirrors similar software layouts available and uses familiar Microsoft Windows style icons. This means that children with some computer experience found navigating it familiar and easy. The ‘clear’ button used in the paint program was not well defined so this took a while to introduce and use but after direction this was not a problem. Children were able to support each other and I promoted team teaching with children who had used the software becoming ‘experts’. I taught my most ICT confident and able child first and then he was able, with my support, to demonstrate and teach other children. I introduced the paint program to start with and used a sand timer to establish turn taking. (Maybe this is a feature that could added to the software?) I then used programs where defined turns were incorporated (pairs, memory games). Children were generally very motivated by the program. Children that were not confident to try it were happy to watch peers explore the software. Children were able to use it with minimal help, but initial input was needed.

The teacher’s view of the title
The software brings together a wide range of features in one program which is useful. When children became accustomed to the layout, they were able to access lots of different learning resources with ease. The paint program was simple and effective and better in my opinion than other similar programs on the market. It was more interactive and animated which made it different from Microsoft Paint which some children use at home. I liked the way you add your own pictures and personalise the options available in a number of programs. This feature was easy to use and made the learning more personal and relevant to my topic (All About Me). I liked the way in which it lends itself to differentiation as you can pick simple or more challenging options in most of the programs.

At times there may have been too much choice. Perhaps a more straight-forward starting point, which you could then make more challenging, may be more useful rather than starting, as the program does, with a hard range of sounds and letters in the Eye spy game. I would have like to have seen a puzzle section which I am sure could be added and this would fit in well with the range and nature of the programs on offer. I found integrating it into a free flow setting very easy as it can be used by children independently after direction and I enjoyed using it with a large group of 18 children. I can see it being a very useful resource as it will not date easily due to the simple and wide range of software available. The ability to control and limit menus and exits was excellent and made it very user friendly. You could tell that this feature came from a teacher who had used software in a class room where children would exit a program by mistake or on purpose!

Does the title offer value for money?
It is an excellent resource aimed at Early Years children and when used effectively it is a valuable learning tool with multiple uses. It offers a simple and effective range of games and programs which you normally have to find in separate programs. This makes it an excellent time saving tool. I can see myself using it regularly to add a simple but dynamic ICT element to my planning. Licensing seemed simple and George Rodd’s ‘hands on’ approach and demonstration was very useful. It is not perfect and could do with slight changes but it is a remarkable achievement and clearly comes from experience of working with Early Years children. It is linked to and ties in well with multiple areas of the curriculum as it covers elements of ‘Letters and Sounds’ using the correct pronunciation and phonemes.

What do your pupils say about the title?
‘It is like funny bubbles’ (animated paint brush feature)
‘It’s fun and a bit silly’
‘I can do it, you can watch Mr Berry’
‘I like this; I would like this at home’
‘Can I have a go, it look fun’
‘I want it on the TV again, that program with the moving paint’
‘Look I can do it’
‘I don’t like green, it looks like an alien TV, and Ben Ten would like it!’
‘Look it is my face!’ (Using uploaded photos)
‘How do I get it at home?’
‘It’s like water, a waterfall, like Nigeria falls!’ (Moving paint brush in blue- language and knowledge and understanding of the world extension)
‘I love it, a lot, a lot, a lot’

Specific comment from the evaluator
I think the software is fantastic. It is a very effective and an extremely useful learning tool. It is a great addition to the Early Years classroom and I can see it being used extensively. I would highly recommend it to other nurseries, Early Years settings, schools and colleagues.

My only criticism is minor. I believe the software could be enhanced and become truly unique and exemplary by being visually redesigned. The content is brilliant and without question great. However, the graphic, layout and branding may benefit from work. The frame and layout is bright green which I found distracting and a child and colleague commented on it. A more graphic and naturalistic based background like a chalk board, clip board or note book would make it more simple and less “in your face”. A small detail that would be useful is to introduce a traffic light colour system where ‘go’ is green and stop/end is red. The software is aimed at Early Years but does not need in my opinion to be bright and slightly tacky in its use of animations and garish colours. I would also like to see actual photos rather than cartoons and simplistic drawings being used for the graphic in Eye spy, sensory play and matching. This would make the program less in keeping with generic Early Year’s software and make it stand out in the crowded market place.

This software is perfect for Early Years children with the ability to differentiate and stretch children up to Year Two. It offers a range of programs and features which without doubt enhance the learning environment. It is simple, effective and easy to use. It is by far the most well thought through, dynamic and useful Early Years learning tool I have come across to date and I would highly recommend it.