By Michael Hilkemeijer
These days, every generation of children are exposed to digital technology as they all grow up in a technology-dominated world. They all have such a profound influence on their lives which is one coding in early childhood education is just as important for them to learn maths and how to read. Coding activities for kids can set the foundation for helping them start to think like a computer programmer and to use computers in a creative way in their lives.
Learning how to code gives young children the ability to understand their digital world. According to Douglas Rushkoff, a digital literacy advocate from Codeacademy.com:
“As I see it, code literacy is a requirement for participation in a digital world. When we acquired language, we didn’t just learn how to listen, but also how to speak. When we acquired text, we didn’t just learn how to read, but also how to write. Now that we have computers, we are learning to use them but not how to program them. When we are not code literate, we must accept the devices and software we use with whatever limitations and agendas their creators have built into them.”
5 other reasons why Preschoolers need coding
Programming helps children learn to problem-solve
One of the advantages of integrating digital technology in early childhood education is that it helps young children understand computers and the basics of coding which in turn enables an appreciation of how things work.
Going further than this it teaches them how software engineers use maths to solve problems in a logical and creative way. The ability to problem solves while young enables children to use these skills throughout their life.
Computer programming challenges children intellectually
As a result, they develop resilience as they learn to ‘debug’ codes in a fun way. Learning to bounce back after failure helps to serve as another learning opportunity and this is another important reason to code.
Additionally, being challenged intellectually develops ICT capability and sets them up 21st century skills.
Coding teaches children how to think
Being challenged intellectually also promotes higher order thinking skills. Coding teaches young children how to think differently. To think logically. It is important for them to see a large problem and to break it down into smaller pieces to solve it in an effective manner.
Coding promotes creativity in early childhood education
Creativity has its own place in the early childhood learning environment and when young children learn how to code it helps them experiment and to be confident in their creative tasks.
Throughout this process, young children have the chance to create something completely authentic and is entirely their own.
Computer programming is the future
Technological development is growing rapidly every year and so coding is an extremely useful skill to have. More businesses and companies today rely on computer code than ever before. This makes those children who learn how to code have the advantage over those who don’t in the future as there will be more opportunities for employment.
How to Introduce coding to preschoolers
This is one of the most frequent questions that I am asked and as a result, I have included it in my free online pd for early childhood teachers. You can see a preview of it below. However, to add to this when it comes to coding in early childhood education you need to first lay the foundations for children to think like a computer programmers. This can even be done without a computer.
Coding for preschoolers is best introduced through fun hands-on games and activities that make young children think like computer programmers.
The ones that promote logical thinking and have a problem to solve.
Learning while playing in early childhood education is a well-known strategy and it too can be applied here.
7 fantastic ways to easily teach and learn coding today
Here are some ways you can teach coding in early childhood education (Teachyourkidscode.com).
Go on a treasure hunt
This requires skills that computer programmers use when coding. The children can follow instructions and directions to find their treasure. As a result, this will teach children about algorithms which is a set of instruction to help a computer perform a specific task.
No prep required just simply place the treasures around the room or garden then write up a set of instructions.
If mistakes are made, then they must go back and start again (debug the code!) until they find where the treasure is hidden.
Solve a maze
A child can develop resilience when they follow a maze. When mistakes are made and go the wrong direction then they need to go back and try again until they another path to follow.
You even make it a little trickier by adding a blindfold maze.
Another great idea is to tell stories to help preschoolers develop coding skills. You could break it up into pieces perhaps by picture, mix it up, and then get the young children to put it back in the right order.
These add a great way for young children to learn problem-solving skills as they essentially are giving them a problem to solve.
These are also great for encouraging skills in problem-solving as well as nurturing creativity in early childhood education.
In addition, logical thinking is also promoted in this type of activity as the children need to think about how and if the blocks can balance and where to put them to do so.
We all know how fun Lego can be playing with it. My daughter loves it and continues to get new sets for her presents. They are a great way of learning coding skills as they need to follow instructions and once again, if mistakes are made then they have to go back and start again.
I tell my daughter this all the time when she comes to me for help. Go back over the instructions and find out what you left out or did wrong. Building instructions is a foundational coding concept.
Games that use maths
All throughout this article, I have spoken about problem-solving activities and there are none better than those games that use mathematical skills. They are great for coding for preschoolers.
20 Great Technology Activities for Early Learning Environments
As the world continues to tread through the global pandemic, the growing dependence on technology continues to permeate our lives. For young children like my seven year old daughter who will grow up through it they will have a lot to tell the generations after them just how much we needed to rely on technology to survive.
As early childhood practitioners, we must then take advantage of the available technology in preschool classrooms and exploit its capabilities for learning. This means that we must prepare technology activities for preschoolers that build upon and develop their ICT capabilities and technological literacy.
Effective technology integration in the early learning environment is just about imagining the potential for learning with the available technology within the context it will be taught. The following list of preschool technology activities will support your goals in achieving this.
Technology Activities in Preschool
20 early learning activities that use technology in preschool today.
- Observe children’s playful uses of video camera and build on their capabilities.
- Model the effective use of video cameras by recording children’s play as characters from story books.
- Scan in children’s creations such as paintings, drawings, collages and photographs and add them to their learning journeys.
- Use the scanner to scan in non-digital photographs such as old photos from home.
- Actively encourage children to record the process of an activity as they progress through it.
- Set up the webcam so that it stays on and let the children play in front it thus stimulating them to create stories about themselves.
- Model the use of video recording by recording the children singing as a group.
- Model the use of drawing and painting programs such as MS Paint or Paint 3D by making repeat patterns such as those for wallpapers and then printing it.
- Taking a photo with a digital camera or getting an image from Google and then open it up in the drawing or painting program and getting the children to paint over it.
- Take the children on a technology excursion that may just be a walk down the street to see the technology in their environment and then get them to create the technologies that they saw.
- Get children to create laptops.
- Tape white chalk to the back of a programmable toy and using it to draw on large sheets of black paper.
- Develop their ICT capability and technological literacy by making sound instructional decisions and employing evidence based teaching strategies in early childhood education.
- While Smartboards do not develop ICT capability, they are excellent to use in conjunction with good quality art software. As children make marks, show them what the range of tools can do.
- Decorate photos and images of animals like elephants in drawing and painting programs.
- Use bee bots to spell out words.
- Make a stop motion animation film to further enhance their skills.
- Explore the benefits of augmented reality in learning activities.
- Practice addition and subtraction using technology like a spreadsheet.
- Choose a country on the computer and then ask children to locate it on the physical world map.
To fully exploit technology in early learning activities you need to make sound instructional decisions and employ evidence based teaching strategies in order to harness the potential of technology in early childhood education.
5 Ways to Integrate Technology in Preschool
The use of technology in early childhood education is very important for several reasons today. The top of these includes helping young children view ICT as tools designed for specific purposes and to enhance learning. Attached such attributes are the benefits of many, however, for these to all be unlocked you must use evidence-based teaching strategies to ensure that children benefit from their digital experiences. Here are five ways on how to use technology in preschool classrooms today.
Integrating ICT in preschool can be achieved in the following ways:
Develop Technological Literacy and ICT Capability
I have listed this one first as I believe it is the most important. ICT capability can be developed in the most meaningful context-driven activities in the early year curriculum. Seek and plan to develop each component of it and ensure that the correct software is used such as those that are content-free and that challenge children intellectually.
In early childhood education, creative development is in its own area of learning within the EYLF. Using technology in preschool education provides an opportunity for young children to be creative. So you need to encourage them to use drawing and painting programs and apps and model the use of software yourself.
Promote digital play
Good quality role play gives young children the opportunity to make sense of their digital world in which we live in. Allow them to help you set up the role-play area of your learning environment and place quality and appropriate ICT resources there for them to use such as real tech that works, the real tech that doesn’t work, the tech that they made themselves, and toy technology that simulate the working of real technologies.
Use ICT to search for things of interest
Preschool technology in early childhood education can be used by both teachers and children to search the World Wide Web for interesting things on the Internet. You can guide them through the right practices to use keywords to search for what they are looking for so to develop their technological literacy along the way.
Teach Literacy and Numeracy
Using technology appropriate in the preschool classroom also involves software such as word processors and spreadsheets to teach literacy and numeracy. This type of technology in preschool also develops a child’s ICT capability. Of course, you can use subject specific software, however, this will entirely depend on your own learning goals. You may just wish to teach literacy, but remember the value of ICT in enhancing literacy learning and the opportunities that can be missed in a digital world.
Learn to apply high impact teaching strategies to effectively integrate technology in preschool today.
7 Ways to use Technology in Preschool
If the top 5 ways weren't enough, here are another 7 ways for your to integrate technology in preschool today.
- You can allow young children to freely explore touch screens that have developmentally appropriate interactive media.
- Provide opportunities for young children to explore and feel comfortable using the mouse and keyboard.
- Another option for you to use technology in preschool is to use capture photos of block buildings or artwork that the young children have created.
- Always make sure that you celebrate their accomplishments using digital technology in early childhood education.
- Don't forget about using assistive technology in preschool classrooms.
- Use your smartphone or tablet computer to record children's stories about their drawings or play.
- Finally, when planning to use technology in preschool learning activities you can explore digital storytelling with children. Imagine the potential of technology in early childhood to co-create digital books with them.
Learn more about integrating technology in the preschool classroom today.
7 Ideas for Integrating Technology in Preschool Appropriately
Integrating preschool technology activities is more than just exposing young children to the technology available. Technology activity for pre-schoolers should involve adult helpers and early childhood teachers facilitating the development of ICT capability and more broadly, technological literacy.
However, with so many technology activities for kids that it is hard at times to determine what is developmentally appropriate technology. You should consider:
- If the technology allows for the child to be in control – if the computer or technology is in control, then the children will be restricted to a restricted response. Minimal capability in ICT on the behalf of the child will be achieved. Only when the child has full control will they develop ICT capability.
- Integration and play through ICT – can you fully integrate the technology?
- Encourage collaboration – how is the technology provided?
These are just some of the things to consider when planning preschool technology activities.
Here are some fun ideas for preschool technology activities.
Making a stop motion – I have developed many stop motion animation project work for my students and there is ample room to enhance technological literacy and to develop a child’s ICT capability. Older kids will enjoy planning, taking photos and making a movie. They can either draw their characters or create them using models they bring in like toys or plasticine.
Taking photos – tablet computers such as iPads are awesome ICT tools for this type preschool technology activity. They can learn how to transfer it onto a computer into a folder which you have helped to create. More essential skills and knowledge gained!
Manipulate images – continuing on from using digital images from those taken from iPads or even smartphone cameras, after they have been transferred into a folder you open up a new file in an image manipulation program. There are many of these to choose from and the best part is that they mostly generic and cost-effective. Take them through key ICT techniques that they need to learn by carefully planning your demonstrations and pointing out the conceptual understanding behind each one.
Practice mathematics – Have you ever thought of setting up a spreadsheet to help children understand calculations using simple formulas? Subject specific will not develop their capabilities in ICT so it is important that you understand the key ICT techniques they need to know in order for you to anticipate any issues or problems that may arise.
Creating technology – wipe your worries away about the lack of technology available. The best technology is sometimes the ones that the children make themselves. You can take them on a excursion to see different types of technology down the street and walk them back to discuss what they have seen, listing on the board and then setting them a task to create the one technology they liked the most. They will fun with it for a while.
Make a movie – technology experiences for children can be a fun way to learn how make a movie using programs such as MovieMaker. They can use webcams or the digital recorders from iPads or smartphones provided.
Programming toys – there is a lot to be said for using programmable toys as part of your technology in preschool activities. Beebots can be used to teach literacy, numeracy and most parts of the EYLF depending on your imagination.
All of these technology experiences for children enable you to develop ICT capability essentially building on what a child might already know from home experiences of Information and Communication Technology.
It is important that along with this technology in preschool activities you accompany them with high impact ICT teaching strategies to help young children understand the notion of ICT as a tool designed for a specific purpose.
Integrating technology activities for preschoolers should always be about building on a child’s technology experiences and facilitating the development of ICT capability and technological literacy..
5 Ways that ICT can help children in Preschool Today
In an ever changing world, where technology is the catalyst for many changes and when technology is rapidly changing itself, it is important that parents send their children to early learning centres where they can begin to reap the benefits of technology in early childhood education.
As an early childhood educator, it is important that you model creative, responsible and appropriate use of technology in preschool activities.
How Children can learn with Technology in Preschool Activities today
Below are 5 ways young children can use technology in kindergarten and preschool today.
Connect with other children
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) when applied to early learning environments can provide the ability for young children to close great distances and communicate through chat, sharing videos or even sharing classes with other children around the world. What a great way to build relationships?!
It also helps them learn about their world including their technological one!
Through researching and exploring young children gradually begin to understand the role of technology in their lives whether it may be tablet computers, mobile phones, laptops or desktop computers. In the process, they learn key information literacy skills to help them access, evaluate, and search for particular things of interest to them such as maybe animals or video clips about a topic.
One way that you can use iPads as a type of ICT in preschool is to take it outside with you when the young children are playing. If they are hanging upside down on the monkey bars you could say: “You look like a monkey….I wonder what other animals can swing? Shall we investigate on the iPad and see?”
However, iPads is just one example of ICT in preschool so you could also use laptops or your smartphone to model this sort of use of ICT in life.
A key purpose to use ICT in preschool is to develop or build a child’s ICT capability and by encouraging the use of creative apps that are open-ended you can respond more to their learning needs. Nurturing creativity in early childhood education and in addition to the main drawing and painting apps, you can also use apps that duplicate the familiar Etch a Sketch activity.
There are also apps that enable you to work with a child to design and create objects, machines, and clothes. You need to focus on apps where children are prompted to solve problems, build, or create and that gives them full control of the software and allows you to achieve your goals of integrating Information and Communication Technology in preschool activities.
Promoting robotics in early childhood education can be a great way to learn and play. Simple robotics such as bee-bots or ‘dot to dot’ programmable robots can be used with navigation maps and integrated well into your early years curriculum. The use of robotics also allows for the learning of early code and problem-solving.
Role playing is about learning without failure and is it well-known that young children lest best when playing. So a great way for you to integrate ICT in preschool and to help them learn about the use and role of technology in early childhood education is to provide them with opportunities. These can include both working and non-working technologies. It can also be toy technologies that resemble the real, authentic technologies that people use today.
So let them tinkle with technology in preschool activities this way and help them understand their technological surroundings better.
3 Easy Ways to Boost Creativity with ICT in Preschool
Creativity has its own place in the early childhood curriculum as it is about discovering the new and making new connections. In a previous article, I discussed how the use of Information and Communication Technology in preschool activities can affect children’s creativity. Promoting creativity in early childhood education with ICT can be achieved if you plan effectively for its development.
In the 21st century, creativity has been found to be one of the three most sought-after and valued skills that employers will look for beyond 2020 (2018 World Economic Forum). Other surveys have indicated that 60% of CEOs believe that creativity is the most important quality that someone in leadership should have.
Providing children with a wide range of open-ended and meaningful uses of ICT in early childhood education is essential. However, you need to model creativity with the integration of ICT in preschool education and kindergarten learning environments as well.
So here are three ways that I would encourage you to boost creativity with ICT in preschool and kindy today.
Boost Creativity ICT in Preschool and Kindy by choosing the right software
Not everyone is for the use of ICT in early childhood education and often believe that technology is a distraction. Technology can be a distraction but only if the wrong technology is chosen.
Integrating technology in the preschool classroom, for example, should never be as a add on to the curriculum and should be about developing ICT capability in early childhood learning activities which include digital play. If you stick to this philosophy, then you will be able to understand that having the wrong distraction in the room can be avoided if you choose your use of technology in preschool activities in the following ways.
First, the children should always have full control over the software itself. Secondly, it should also be content-free and generic which makes them it possible for children to transfer their capabilities in ICT in preschool activities or kindy throughout other context. Finally, ensure that it does challenge children intellectually and promotes higher order thinking skills
As a teacher myself, I know how distractions cannot be good for teaching. However, you would be surprised to know that distractions can be good for creating a rich mix of creative thoughts in children.
Boost your own level of ICT capability
Building on your own levels of capabilities in ICT in preschool or kindy is not just about acquiring technical skills. Let’s face it…you are never going to know everything. It is important to note that it is through learning the best pedagogical approaches to technology integration such as that learned in our free online professional development for early childhood educators is the start for you.
As a teacher using ICT in preschool or kindergarten your capabilities in ICT is about knowing how to use them correctly for the right situation.
So how can this boost creativity in early childhood education?
Research has proven that if teachers feel comfortable with their confidence and competence in ICT they tend to allow young children to explore the creative uses of ICT in preschool activities or kindy.
Additionally, children are naturally curious and creative so by giving them the freedom to explore you will be promoting creativity in early childhood education once you have provided them with the right software and tools to do so.
Blur the lines between learning and playing with ICT in preschool
Following on from my last tip, softening the lines between learning and playing will help boost creativity with technology in preschool activities. Once children understand that they can have fun while learning they’ll be more open to new ways of thinking and creating.
Furthermore, digital role playing can help to achieve this as it is often termed ‘learning without failure’. If you plan challenging and stimulating role play that builds on what they already know and can do then they will begin to explore creative ideas for use of ICT in their lives and understand it to be a tool that is designed for specific purpose and the many uses of it in their lives too.
In conclusion, you need to use ICT in preschool and kindy to promote creativity in early childhood education. This needs to occur individually and in groups. If you give them a secure environment with effective and sensitive adult support in which they can take risks and make mistakes without fear of failing then their creative ideas will flow. So right ensure that you find the right balance today.
Engaging Preschool Technology Activities for Early Learning
In today's digital age, technology has become an integral part of our lives. Children are no exception to this trend, as they are exposed to technology from a very early age. While some parents and educators are skeptical about the role of technology in early childhood education, the truth is that when used appropriately, technology can be a powerful tool to enhance learning. In fact, research suggests that technology can help children develop a range of skills, from problem-solving and critical thinking to creativity and communication. Explore engaging preschool technology activities that can be used to support early learning. These activities are designed to be fun, interactive, and age-appropriate, and can help children develop a love for technology while also building essential skills for the future.
You can get all your preschool technology lesson plans and activity ideas by becoming a member of our ICT in Education Teacher Academy for just $5.99 per month (cancel anytime).