Dear Early Childhood Educators,
Welcome to the Early Education Corner!
And so, it is back to school again for everyone who had a summer break and the beginning of a new term for those of us who ran programs during the summer!
I decided to start this semester’s blog with a hot topic in education – the use of
technology in the early childhood classroom. In the early childhood educator world, I often hear strong feelings expressed about the use of technology with young children, both pro and con.
On October 1, my Early Childhood Education Department is sponsoring a conference, “Using Technology in the Early Childhood Classroom,” at Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York. So I thought it might be an interesting topic to explore here.
If you decide to include technology in your classroom, I would like to make some recommendations based on research and experience.
- Spend some time learning about all the technological possibilities available for the early childhood classroom before you make a commitment to purchase equipment.
- Make sure you factor in the cost of training whenever you obtain new equipment. I have seen many classrooms with fancy equipment left untouched because the teachers did not know how to use it.
- Critically review all materials the children will be using such as software or APPS before you let children explore it.
- Select technology that is interactive and will challenge the children’s thinking skills and creativity. For example, some software is simply an electronic workbook.
- Make sure the software and APPS you choose do not include violence, sexism or racism.
- Integrate the technology with other curriculum areas of the classroom such as math, literacy, social studies and science.
- To encourage socialization (and avoid isolation), have children work as partners or in small groups when they use the computer, interactive whiteboard, tables and other equipment.
- Limit the amount of time children spend on the computer so they have a balanced school day. Make sure they have daily experiences with hands-on learning materials, art, music and movement, books, and physical activity.
- Develop guidelines about how and when the computers, interactive whiteboards, listening centers, etc. will be used for the children and the adults in the classroom.
- Teach the children the proper way to use the equipment and make sure someone is available to support them during its use. I have seen children destroy expensive equipment because of the lack of teacher supervision.
Do you use technology in your classroom? How do the children use the technology? Has it added to your curriculum? Do you see any problems using technology in early education?
Looking forward to hearing from you.