By Michael Hilkemeijer
In this video extract from my play-based learning online course, "How to Support Play-based Learning in ECE with Digital Technology", I discuss a number of tips to introduce technology in the preschool classroom. You can join this online training for early childhood educators as a stand-alone online workshop/resource for just $460 Aud or become a member of my ICT in Education Teacher Academy and pay just $5.99 per month (cancel anytime) to gain access to this course and 60 + others.
As an early childhood educator, you have the task to balance the use of technology through its effective integration in meaningful play-based activities.
And in the technology-driven world that we live in, it is essential that we introduce technology to young children in the early stages of their education.
This is because many young children are growing up with a genuine understanding of how to use digital technologies even before they enter your early childhood learning environment.
Introducing technology the correct way is especially significant if you are teaching in a low socio-economic area where most children may not have access to digital technologies.
Learning and applying these steps will ensure that all children in your care will develop the ability to advance their digital literacy capabilities and benefit from its successful integration into your early years curriculum.
9 Approaches to Introducing Technology in the Preschool Classroom
Apply a structured approach
Children benefit from structured teaching at appropriate points in their development of ICT capability.
So any important learning tasks that involve the use of technology need to be introduced by the explanation and questioning of the children first.
This then needs to be concluded by further questioning and a clear summary of what has been learned.
Embed technology integration in meaningful activities
Another important thing to remember is that any there is a close relationship between ICT capability and knowledge, skills, and understanding in other subject areas.
Activities should be creative, purposeful, or experimental. For example, it is a good idea to introduce something like a spreadsheet in a number activity.
Become familiar with the technology first
The third point to remember is that being familiar with the software program is also key to introducing them at the appropriate time of a child’s development.
As you become familiar with them it would make it easier for you to determine when a child is ready to move on to learn about a new ICT technique or software program.
Discuss rather than demonstrate
Another point to remember is that many children who enter your learning environment are quite confident in their use of ICT in varying degrees.
These children expect to be able to explore new hardware and software with as little assistance from teachers and manuals.
It is, therefore, important that when you are introducing new software or hardware to these children you start by discussing what it can do and how it can be achieved, rather than merely demonstrating a fixed sequence of ICT techniques to achieve a single outcome.
Model the appropriate use
It is always better to set a good example yourself when using technology in your early learning environment. Show them how to use it meaningfully and purposefully so that they will learn these traits from you.
Ensure that you are respectful when using technology and set rules for technology use.
Start with the basics
At an early age, you can start with the basics of technology. For example, explain what a computer is and how to use it.
You may want to show them how to search for information on the Internet in a safe way. Don’t try to teach them too much.
Integrate DAP technology
Understand what is developmentally appropriate technology by reading the Developmentally Appropriate Technology in Early Childhood guidelines and don’t expose them to technology if they are under 2 years of age.
Choose the right ICT tools
Throughout my online PD for early childhood teachers, I discuss educational materials that are age-appropriate. These include the ones that give young children full control and involve a high degree of decision-making on their behalf.
Attach value to screen time
By introducing technology only for specific and controlled activities you can help young children to be discerning users of technology. This is strongly linked to my earlier point about introducing it to them during meaningful activities.
Keep the activities to controlled periods and integrate or use technology for educational games and specific learning sessions.
Preschool Technology Activity
Start practicing these early childhood teaching strategies today by applying our preschool technology activities. Here is one that I prepared for you earlier!
Early Learning Goals
Use information and communication technologies to access images and information, explore diverse perspectives and make sense of their world (EYLF Learning outcome 5.5)
With children, add speech bubbles to their photographs and support them in putting in what they want to say. You use programs such as MS Word or MS Publisher. Children can take photos with the digital camera and with support upload them unto the computer program of choice.
For the more experienced children, they can do this themselves with a desktop publishing program allowing them greater opportunities for being creative with their photographs.
- Desktop publishing programs like MS Publisher
- MS Word
- Digital camera such as on a stand-alone or on a tablet computer, smartphone and even a laptop.
ICT Levels of Differentiation
- Can identify computer
- Can identify the digital camera
- To take photograph
- Can transfer/upload digital images to a computer
- To be able to complete the program with support.
- To ask for a specific software title.
- To be able to complete the program unaided
Become a member of our ICT in Education Teacher Academy now for just $5.99 per month and download your copy of this preschool technology lesson plan today.