Connecting Early Childhood and Primary Education with ICT

By Michael Hilkemeijer

Connecting the Early Years Learning Framework to the Primary Curriculum is crucial as it ensures continuity and progression in ICT use and capabilities across the different phases of education is vital teachers are to adequately develop lifelong learners in an ICT-dominated society. The Australian Curriculum (F-2) builds on the framework's 5 outcomes. 

 

According to Kennewell (2000) one of the fundamental concepts underlying ICT capability is that in the phase transition, children are given “opportunities to develop and consolidate their ICT capability in school at times and outside their normal lessons.”

The Queensland Department of Education state that transition statements can support learning as parents use them to:

  • identify different pathways and approaches to transitions that best suit children and their families
  • plan ways to help children and their families feel welcome and comfortable in the new setting
  • identify starting points for learning that build on children's identified strengths, talents, motivations, interests and learning needs.

 

ICT in Early Childhood Education

 

Early Childhood Education (Preschool - NSW, Vic; Kindergarten - Qld etc)

 

For early childhood teachers, ICT use is part of Outcome 4 and 5 of the Early Years Learning Framework.

 

The first example provides you with statements used in Victorian Curriculum in relation to the outcomes.

 

Outcome 4: Children are Confident and Involved Learners

 

  • Is able to explore the purpose and function of a range of familiar tools, media, sounds and graphics (including communications technologies).
  • Is beginning to explore the purpose and function of a range of familiar tools, media, sounds and graphics (including communications technologies).
  • With support is beginning to explore the purpose and function of a range of tools, media, sounds and graphics (including communications technologies).
  • Has little exposure or understanding of tools, media, sounds and graphics (including communications technologies).

 

 

Outcome 5: Children are Effective Communicators

 

  • Often uses information and communication technologies to access images and information, explore diverse perspectives and make sense of their world.
  • Sometimes uses information and communication technologies to access images and information, explore diverse perspectives and make sense of their world.
  • With adult assistance can use information and communication technologies to access images and information, explore diverse perspectives and make sense of their world.
  • Has limited experience in using information and communication technologies to access images and information, explore diverse perspectives and make sense of their world.

 

 

In Queensland, the summary of teacher information in the Transition to school statement in relation to ICT use in kindergarten might look like the following:

 

Outcome 4: Children resource their own learning through connecting with people, place, technologies and natural and processed materials

A kindergarten child who is a confident and involved learner:

 

Explores tools, technologies and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs)

Child A:

 

 

Uses the computer confidently and carefully to investigate and play games

Often incorporates knowledge of technology into dramatic play, e.g. makes his own play props such as phones and laptops, and uses these imaginatively in play

 

Outcome 5: Children use information and communication technologies to access information, investigate ideas and represent their thinking

A kindergarten child who is an effective communicator:

 

Identifies the uses of technologies in everyday life and use real or imaginary technologies as props in their play.

 

Or

 

Uses information and communication technologies to access images and information, explore diverse perspectives and make sense of their world.

 

Or

 

Uses information and communication technologies as tools for designing, drawing, editing, reflecting and composing.

 

Or

 

Engages with technology for fun and to make meaning.

 

 

 

 

Child A:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ICT in Early Childhood Education

 

Foundation to Year 3 Primary Teachers

 

For teachers in this phase of education, the information which they need to provide is more detailed and needs to adhere to the Australian Curriculum content descriptors.

 

In primary education, early childhood extends to Year 2 but may also extend to Year 3 in some cases. This means the level of progression is from Level 1 (Foundation) to Level 2 (Year 2). However, every individual child progresses differently to others so it is vital that you determine their capabilities in ICT accurately.

 

As a teacher, it would not be very helpful for the teacher you are sharing information with to simply report that a child was functioning at Level 1, for example, as this information simply states that Level 1 is the ‘best fit’, and that particular child might be functioning above or below that level in relation to one of the aspects.

 

You would need to provide more information and more than would be provided by reference to the level descriptors.

 

The information that the next year level teacher would need to know would be more than just if the child could use ICT to create, develop or organise their work. It would include:

 

  • Which media did they have experience in doing this?
  • Was it with text as in a word processor, with text and graphics as with a DTP package, with an image manipulation program (and if so, with a painting or drawing program?) It would be helpful to know which programs they had used.

 

Although Victoria is the only Australian state that requires teachers to report on the progress of this general capability (ICT capability) this is information that parents who are interested in this information about their child’s ICT use might like to learn.

 

If this is your intention, then you need to remember that parents don’t quite understand this type of information to do with the level descriptors or even if you discussed the level their child was at. You need to provide more information but phrase it in a way that would be most meaningful for the parents who do not have the same, shared vocabulary as teachers.

 

The effective assessment of student ICT capability in early childhood education can improve the quality of the information provided to parents in reports. Annual reports needs to be written in a way that considers the needs of the parents. There also must be a balance between being informative and being brief. Here are some other factors to consider when writing a report on student ICT capability.

  1. What can the child do? Set this in the context of the experiences that the student has had over a period of time.
  2. Are there any special accomplishments and what difficulties have been encountered?
  3. What is the level of attainment in terms of the National Curriculum? It is a good idea to discuss the student’s level in relation to other students of the same age group throughout the country rather than their position within the class. It is important that if this comparison is to be meaningful, you need to have background information about the overall ability of the class itself.
  4. Identify how the student can improve making reference to future topics and activities as well as more specific advice on ways in which the child could be assisted to improve.
  5. Never place pressure on parents to spend money on software or a computer for example, in order the student to improve their expertise.
  6. Rephrase your information as you would with teachers for parents to understand.
  7. Keep information about the student’s ICT capability, in some sense related to the attainment level descriptions, if they do not actually a level to a student.
  8. For each student, review your task based assessments and refer to the complete folder of the student’s work.
  9. Summarise the comments made about the student’s ICT capability during the term/semester/year.

One last point to remember and that is the key to progression and continuity in student ICT capability is effective development. From this you can proficiently write on their capabilities and this information is then great to use for future planning.

 

If you would like promote a more advanced developed child in ICT before they start school, continue reading about our accredited online professional development can help you achieve this today.

 

Accredited Online Professional Development for Early Childhood Teachers

Completing this course will contribute to 5 hours of PD addressing 2.6.2, 3.2.2 and 5.1.2 of Australian Professional Standards for Teachers towards maintaining Proficient teacher accreditation.

Teacher Takeaways

  • Understand the key role of ICT in Early Childhood Education;
  • Maximise formative assessments in ICT activities, projects and tasks.
  • Select developmentally appropriate ICT tools;
  • Employ evidence based ICT teaching strategies.
  • Promote literacy and numeracy development in ICT.
  • Facilitate the progression of ICT capability.
  • Integrate ICT effectively in STEM activities.
  • Embed safe and healthy practices.
  • Reflect on your teaching and learning with ICT.
  • Boost your competence in ICT integration.
  • Implement a universal framework for inclusion.

TQI accredited online course for Early Childhood Education

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