Technology in the Early Childhood Classroom

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.

  1. Spend some time learning about all the technological possibilities available for the early childhood classroom before you make a commitment to purchase equipment.
  2. 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.
  3. Critically review all materials the children will be using such as software or APPS before you let children explore it.
  4. Select technology that is interactive and will challenge the children’s thinking skills and creativity.  For example, some software is simply an electronic workbook.
  5. Make sure the software and APPS you choose do not include violence, sexism or racism.
  6. Integrate the technology with other curriculum areas of the classroom such as math, literacy, social studies and science.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

Dr. Vardin

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1 comment so far ↓

#1 GV_EDT619 on 09.21.11 at 5:49 pm

Recently, I became increasingly aware of the lack of technology in my Preschool classroom. (Quick background: 3 yr old learners/1:10 ratio with 20 max count. Mid to Upper SES. Children are very aware of tech like computers, cell phones, ipods, tablets, etc as we see a lot of modeling of using these ‘objects’ during dramatic play.) Months ago, the computer that required repairs weekly due to abuse by learners, transitioned to the staff resource room. The desktop computer did not withstand the daily use by three year old learners. The classroom staff, myself included, routinely debate the merits and struggles of implementing tech of any sort into our classroom. Our focus is ‘children learn through play’ and this poses questions of what hardware is best suited for our class. I am interested in integrating tech as a supplement to early literacy, math, and science skills under the guise of ‘child-initiated play’ but I am not at all sure what device can deliver these results with durability! I do not feel our Admins would support integration unless we had a solid plan that limited ongoing expense due to repairs. Furthermore, training supported by Admin is not an option but I am accustomed to self-initiated acquisition of tools and training. I am looking forward to any suggestions and further comments.

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