By Michael Hilkemeijer
As young children continue to be exposed to new digital technology in their lives it is not uncommon for preschools to display photos young children have taken themselves. It is your role as the educator to ensure that you are up to date with the latest ideas to integrate ICT in early childhood education by participating in early childhood teacher professional development. Continuous and complex professional development is to the key to successful integrating of digital technology.
Digital technology is a part of children’s everyday life and so it should be a part of their everyday play. Here are some ideas to get you started. They are not my own (Taylor and Francis, 2012) and may appear a little outdated, however, you can adapt them to suit the needs of your own early childhood learning environment.
How to integrate ICT in preschool learning activities?
Idea 1: ICT walk
ICT tools: digital voice recorders, video cameras, and digital camera
Take children on a walk, first of all around the classroom, then around the school and even beyond. Make a list of all ICT that you see. Why not use ICT to make the list? Use the ICT tools as listed above to do so. The discussion about what is ICT and what is not is a central part of the activity. Also, reviewing the list(s) afterwards using your IWB on your PC/laptop can be useful in highlighting the wide range of both ICT tools we rely on, but also other things that depend on them (for example, street lights, traffic lights etc). This could be done as a group activity and each group can report back to the class or other groups. This can also link to displays and setting up activity areas and so on.
Idea 2: Our talking book – Our class
ICT tools needed: digital cameras, interactive whiteboard (IWB), computer, software package to create pages, imagination and voice recorders such as a built in microphone in a computer or even a mobile phone.
In this activity, the children will take digital photographs of each other. This could be taken in their own clothes or fancy dress depending on the story. For example, one picture could be “My name is….” in normal clothes and the next could be “I want to be a ….” dressed up in relevant clothes. As an idea you could make pages by inserting pictures, then make voice recordings of them saying the text above (or whatever else they want to say). When the children finish the show for the class they can share it with other classes and even keep for next year to show as an example, for staff training session or parent’s evening.
You can add text with children helping as their ICT skill level allows. You could use a keyboard or scan in their writing (e.g. their name) if appropriate.
Idea 3: Bear hunt (or you could any suitable story that involves moving from one place to another)
ICT tools: floor robot and ‘maps’
Read the story of the bear hunt to the children then afterwards the children can develop a map on a large piece of paper of the places in the story using pens, paint or any other suitable medium. When the children are ready they can work in pairs or small groups to control the programmable toy/floor robot as it moves from place to place on the map.
The children can develop new maps and then make the story to go with them. These can be developed as short plays (videoed) or even pod casts as well as for use with floor robots/programmable toys. Alternatively, children could build a physical maze using outdoor equipment that the robots have to navigate.
Idea 4: Our Outdoor play area
ICT tools: video or sound recorders, IWB or computer with sound compatibility
Whilst this activity is about the outdoor area it could also be used in other contexts such as ‘My favourite place’ (in school). The focus of the activity is to produce material for a new page on the school website. The children are asked to take pictures of their favourite part of the outdoor play area, record their thoughts (using a variety of media) on why they like it and what they do there. The activity takes place in small groups as part of a rotation of activities and the group is supported by an adult helper – but only in using ICT equipment if they choose to use it. After material is collected the class discuss what they would like to use by viewing on the IWB or other suitable medium. The end product is uploaded to the school website.
Use these great ideas for integrating ICT in preschool and facilitate digital play based learning today.
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