While everyone has a personal preference when it comes to tech, here are the reasons I love this program:
1. It's appropriate for a variety of ages.
Depending on the concept/s covered, you can use this with kindergarten and middle school alike. Thanks to the toggle switch, which gives you the option to take away specific items, you can have only the image or vocabulary you want on the screen. For example, if your kindergarteners are practicing Sol/Mi, you can have just those syllables on the screen. It takes a little extra work, since you'll have to tap on each syllable that you want to disappear, but that's not a problem. In fact, it brings me to the next pro on my list...
2. It's Interactive
Students love to press buttons (literally and figuratively). We all love to press buttons. So imagine the joy on a students' face when they discover that they can learn music by pressing lots of buttons. I mean, what student wouldn't love to have control of the volume knob in the chart below?
When students take the quiz for a concept, they are given immediate feedback. They love this so much that they beg to take the quizzes. I don't argue.
Most of the charts include built-in games, which are called "fun features". Typically they're timed challenges. The students love trying to beat the game or beat their previous score. Some of the games have a "novice" and "expert" level, but I would conclude that most of the fun features are only appropriate for older grades.
They have printable worksheets, wall posters, and even small booklets called "pocket posters", which contain all of the charts within the program. I think the booklets would be great to send home with students who need extra help, or even as prizes during Music in Our Schools Month.
Last year I brought the mobile lab into my classroom and told my third graders that they had a free day. They could explore any topic they chose within the program until time was up. I'm not exaggerating when I say that they were completely engrossed in the program for an entire 50 minutes straight without any guidance from me. I had planned on stopping them at the halfway point, but they were so heavily immersed in topics like "World Instruments" and "Baroque Composers" that I let them continue.
No need to write out lengthy lesson plans. Give details on how to open the program, and your sub will be able to supervise a lesson successfully with little to no musical training.
Despite my glowing review, this program is not without mistakes. I still occasionally run across a minor glitch in the program. For example, a worksheet printing out only one side. However, their customer support is so outstanding that I hesitate to even mention it. Overall, this product is well worth the money and would be a fantastic addition to any elementary music classroom.
Do you or someone you know use Daydream Education? If so, leave a message in the comments. I'd love to hear about your experience with it.