In the 21st century, we can all agree that technology is having a profound effect on all of our lives. Young children are included in such people in society and technology continues to emerge and develop every new generation will learn to take technology for granted.
Thus is the importance of technology in early childhood education as it is an early childhood teacher’s role to transform early childhood learning activities in order to prepare young children for a technology-dominated life.
The importance of technology in early childhood education also offers new opportunities to strengthen many other aspects of early childhood such as learning, professional learning and especially relationships.
Young children, regardless of their own beliefs in the use of technology in early childhood education, already have been exposed to technology and thus come to your learning environment with a degree of capability. As an early childhood teacher, it should be your responsibility to value and support this by building on their strengths, knowledge, skills, and abilities in technology.
Integrating technology in the preschool classroom should never be about exposing young children to technology in early childhood education but harnessing the technology in early childhood education through effective curriculum planning.
So what is curriculum planning in early childhood education in relation to technology integration? There are 11 ways to plan an ICT integrated session plan in early childhood education and care that would result in young children being able to develop ICT capability and understand that technology is tool. These include:
- Plan for the progression of ICT capability;
- Plan for continuity in ICT capabilities;
- Plan for Outcomes;
- Plan for Personalised learning;
- Plan for ICT resources;
- Plan for the next session;
- Plan appropriate ICT activities;
- Plan the learning environment;
- Plan for the assessment of ICT capability;
- Plan to challenge children's capabilities in ICT;
- Plan for the short term - day-by-day
Such planning supports the use of technology in early childhood education through the roles it plays including:
- Young children using ICT in role playing either alone, with peers or with adults;
- Young children and early childhood educators using ICT to scaffold learning together;
- Young children and early childhood educators using ICT together to document and reflect on learning.
Some examples of preschool technology lesson plans may involve using simple drawing and painting programs such as MS Paint to draw a house or family member. It could also be using programmable robots for example.
Here are some helpful steps for integrating technology in the preschool classroom:
Before you even begin to plan an ICT integrated session you need to:
Have an appreciation of where they are at the beginning – why is this important? It is because you should determine their starting point and then give accurate directions that will enable him/her to plot a course.
Building and maintaining responsive relationships in early childhood education begins with this. You need to understand a child’s home experiences of technology. Start by inviting families to tell you about their child’s interests. You can also observe the children at play with a range of technology in preschool activities.
Listening to parents’ stories about their children’s experiences of technology at home is also important. Relationships underpin everything when you plan an ICT integrated session. This includes ICT pedagogical practices in early childhood.
If you want to plan an ICT integrated session it would require you to build on the interests, knowledge, and skills of young children. It is for this reason why we emphasise key methods in observation and assessment in this online workshop for preschool teachers.
The 11 steps that we have outlined above will ensure that the quality of the learning process is increased. There are two approaches that you can take. You can either use a thematic approach or you can use an approach that is based on the breadth and depth of the Early Years Learning Framework.
One suggestion would be to put an ICT column in the weekly planning sheets to ensure that you and your colleagues will think creatively about how to teach a concept or plan an ICT integrated session.
Additionally, integrating technology in the preschool classroom will require long-term plans that identify technology in preschool activities. This approach ensures that from the outset ICT is given high priority in the whole process of planning teaching and learning for the child.
When you plan an ICT integrated session, you ensure the best chances for a young child to develop their ICT capability and technological literacy. It is one of the key principles in its development that when integrating technology in the preschool classroom that you ensure that it is integrated throughout the early learning goals of the EYLF.
Planning also ensures that you challenge young children intellectually. Increasing the level of challenge, however, does not mean giving young children technology in preschool activities that is more advanced. It could also relate to the subject content, the style or the mode of presentation.
For example, you could ask them about changing the size of the text, including another picture or modifying the content.
Integrating technology in the preschool classroom requires evidence based and high impact teaching strategies such as what deliver in our online PD for early childhood educators. Examples of what you will learn include:
- Conducting a thorough analysis of the situation – an essential factor in effective planning.
- Embedding formative assessment strategies when using technology in preschool activities;
- Selecting developmentally appropriate technology in preschool;
- Employing sound instructional decisions;
- Encourage the creative use of ICT;
- Implementing a Universal framework for inclusion with technology and;
- Facilitating learning progression in early childhood learning activities and play.
Learn more about integrating technology in the preschool classroom and go beyond just getting ideas about exposing young children to technology in preschool. Become aware today of the need in preschool to help young children to learn more about and identifying the uses of technology in their everyday lives and encourage children to observe and talk about the use of ICT in the environment today.
INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY IN PRESCHOOL CLASSROOMS
Join this free online PD for early childhood educators today.