To be able to develop ICT capability in children, they need to know more than just the knowledge of techniques and processes.
Teaching simply this is not sufficient any more for the successful application of ICT to problem situations. They need to choose to use that knowledge, monitor the progress being made and evaluate the solutions gained.
Metacognition – knowing what you know – is significant for young children and it empowers them as they are given independent choice.
Children need to do more than just give an answer to a problem - they have to explain how they came that answer.
As a early childhood teachers which include that of a preschool teacher and a kindergarten teacher, you need to engage in conversation around what children are doing and how they are problem-solving with the technology.
Skilful teaching of skills and techniques ensures that children are well supported so that they are able to choose successfully.
In early childhood, higher order skills are demonstrated when young children:
- Decide when it is appropriate to use ICT as a tool for a specific purpose.
- Plan what routines, techniques and process need to be used.
- Work independently to solve problems.
- Evaluate their use of ICT and the outcome it presents.
- Explain and justify their choices to approaches.
- Reflect on their learning with ICT and question how things might be changed for the better outcome next time around.
The issue which you need to be aware of is not whether a child knows a technique or process, it is whether they know that they know and thus able to decide whether it is appropriate to use.
You could ask them how they feel about using the technique as this is a further aspect of metacognitive knowledge.
What you might find is that if they are positive or confident about it, they will use again.
What else can you do as a teacher or parent?
- Tune in – listen carefully to what is being said and observe their body language and what they are doing.
- Be genuinely interested in what they are doing – maintain eye contact, smile and nod.
- Respect their decisions and choices – ask them to elaborate.
- Re-cap the experience.
- Offer your own experience.
- Clarify ideas.
- Make suggestions.
- Remind them of things to do.
- Encourage further thinking.
- Offer an alternative viewpoint.
- Speculate and reciprocate.
- Use positive questioning.
- Ask open-ended questions.
- And model your thinking out aloud in front of them.
From foundation to Year 6, children can attain a level of independent choice in relation to their use of ICT by employing these metacognitive teaching strategies.
The goal of any early childhood teacher, beit preschool or kindergarten, should be to encourage young children to communicate their thinking process. That's metacognition.
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