There is a plethora of technology in early years education that early years practitioners can use. Yet, no matter how motivating it can be, teachers can often underestimate children’s confidence and experience with ICT in the youngest children.
The use of technology in early childhood education can cover many grounds in the learning environment. It will be important for you to ensure that the focus is on the child’s learning experience, not the early childhood education technology so that your guidance will never be out of date as learning can be applied to any situation or ICT tool and resources.
It will be your knowledge that will be crucial to the imaginative application of the curriculum to the learning situation.
Therefore, if you plan for integration you will be able to ensure that technology use in early childhood is viewed as an ICT tool to support and enhance teaching and learning, and not just to teach ICT skills instead of ICT capabilities.
The following will provide you with examples of technology use and will outline some of the benefits of technology in early childhood education.
Technology in ECE Trends Today
Technology in ECE has a lot to do with how you planned the integration of technology in the curriculum. It is essential that any use of technology in early childhood education is well thought out with your colleagues and that they align with the EYLF goals.
Technology Trends for Literacy and Language Development in Early Childhood
Child development is an example of a smart goal for early childhood teachers these days and there is nothing as important in early learning as the learning of literacy and language.
Computers, of course, offer a great ‘print rich’ learning environment for children, however, there are other ICT tools for teachers as well. They also provide a powerful focus in role play activities. Using the computer in these situations can engage children in the collection or receiving of information.
Word Processors have the biggest impact on classroom learning in this area as word processing is closely associated with literacy and language work at all levels, and as a consequence has a contribution to make across the early years curriculum.
Talking books combine speech and words, and these can reinforce the link between written and spoken text. Although they are designed to encourage reading they should be approached with a certain bit of caution.
Other ICT tools, real or pretend, can have a major impact on a child’s imaginative role playing experiences in preschool or kindergarten.
Multimedia programs can also play a role as an ICT tool for teachers. Software such as 2Create a Story takes a fresh and innovative approach to early writing, bringing the multimedia possibilities of new technology to children’s story making.
Word banks and grids can also aid in literacy and language development in early childhood as many early childhood teachers are find out. In fact, its success is based on the continuous feedback teachers are providing its makers and which is improving its performance.
Technology trends for Creativity
Creative development is in its own area of learning in the Early Years Learning Framework and like in its counterpart in the UK (EYFS), it is employed to capture children’s development in:
- Responding to experiences, expressing and communicating ideas
- Exploring media and materials
- Creating music and dance
- Developing imagination.
Despite this, it is difficult to define as in this stage of learning it is often linked to painting and drawing. In fact, if you Google creativity in early years you will find references to art. So here are some ways in which early childhood teachers and children can be creative with technology in early childhood.
Technology for Teachers
Documenting is very important in early childhood education as it can make learning visible and ensure that you engage children in the learning process. In early childhood technology for teachers which enables documentation include:
- A full range of digital cameras including webcams, wireless cameras, digital still cameras, smart phone cameras and tablet computer cameras.
- Interactive whiteboards to quickly display children’s experiences.
- Audio recorders,
- Computer software such as MS PowerPoint to share learning journeys
- Digital projectors.
- Software programs to make books
- Talking cards and photo albums to quickly capture children’s comments on their learning.
ICT tools for Children
Children will need time, freedom, support, choices and inspiration to develop their creativity with technology in early childhood. The following you can adapt for your own context:
- Digital cameras – can be used to take photos of their creative play and to exchange ideas. By supporting them in their use you will also be able to encourage them to reflect on the photos they have taken.
- Video cameras – show them how to use it in a creative way such as for a movie making activity.
- Webcams – encourage them to record the process of an activity as they progress.
- Art software – this you can model for them by doing something like making a repeat pattern and printing it out.
- Programmable toys – there is so much value in bee bots and others like Pixie. Create a path on the ground and ask children to program the toy to follow it.
- Smartboards – use these in conjunction with good quality art software and as the children make marks, show them what the range of ICT tools can do. Model using these tools and then stand back and watch the children do with them.
Other Preschool technology trending in Early Childhood Education:
- Interactive websites: examples include Starfall, ABC Ya, Cookie and Fuel the Brain.
- DAP Apps: tablet computers like iPads and even those with Android technologies come with a range of educational and enhancing apps. You can find a list of the best apps for preschool and kindergarten here.
- Educational video sites like BrainPop Jr. and Discovery Education.
Using Tech in ECE
The use of technology in early childhood classrooms is beginning to become more significant these days as young children continue to embrace its presence. Technology in early childhood plays an important role in their learning and development.
How can technology be integrated?
There are many roles of technology in early childhood classrooms that can involve both teacher and child. For example, young children can use ICT in their role play and learning, children and teachers can use ICT to scaffold learning such as by using the Internet to search for particular things of interest, as well as using ICT to communicate and share their ideas when they use programs such as PowerPoint. However, these are just merely examples of technology in early childhood education.
Learning the basics of integrating technology in the preschool classroom is more to do with supporting young children’s ICT capability and technological literacy by making sound instructional decisions when you are planning on using technology in the early childhood classroom.
To harness the full potential of technology in early childhood education also involves educating teachers and adult helpers so that they have well-developed understandings of the role and potential of ICT for supporting young children’s learning, as well as practical skills in knowing how to make the best use of the technology.
The benefits of using technology
The most noticeable benefit of technology in early childhood education is that it promotes a high level of engagement with children when being used in lessons. Teachers can also design unique learning environments for children.
More recently, the need for increased technological literacy and ICT capability amongst young children has meant that teachers now are required to support and scaffold the use of technology in early childhood education to ensure that they understand the notion of using ICT as a tool for learning and so that they come ready for a primary curriculum set to promote the learning progression in their schooling.
Developing technological literacy on a broader scale and children’s ICT capability is vital to ensuring that become proficient users of ICT in their society.
Further benefits of technology in preschool, kindergarten, and early primary classrooms would include the ability of teachers to use online PD workshops to improve their own professional development and strengthen a particular skill set through self-paced modules or reading exercises.
Further support for Early Childhood teachers
It was acknowledged by UNESCO (2010) that the ICT competencies of early childhood teachers depends on the professional development of which they attend. There are several paths that they can take which include Discovering ICT, Learning with ICT and Integrating ICT.
Accredited through NESA and TQI, our online workshop for preschool teachers, kindergarten teachers and early primary teachers focusing on providing you with practical and immediately actionable advice on integrating technology in the preschool classroom for example.
We investigate the best examples of using technology in the early childhood classrooms and encourage you to practice our evidence based teaching strategies that are high impact and structured in a way to help you achieve your goals.
Online Workshop for Preschool Teachers
The above examples of technology use in early childhood education represent various ways of integrating technology in the preschool classroom. They are symbolic examples of the best practices to develop a child's technology literacy in early childhood education learning activities. Yet it is important to understand that integrating technology in the preschool classroom is NOT just about providing exposure to technology can observing if a child can click a mouse or swipe an iPad.
Supporting children's ICT capability with the use of technology in early childhood education and care is about doing early learning activities such as developing skills in the use of sounds and images to convey information, feelings, and ideas. In this online workshop for preschool teachers, we will discuss and show you the best practices of integrating technology in the preschool classroom that will not only help you accomplish this with supporting evidence based teaching strategies in early childhood education, thus supporting your ICT capability as a preschool teacher, but that will develop a young child's ICT capability or technology literacy.
Here is an example of how we encourage the use of technology in early childhood education in this workshop:
Drawing and painting programs are one of the best examples of technology in early childhood education. It is generic and commonly available meaning that most of us already know something about it. This is good because it is low cost and you don't have the time to go learning about the latest new developments in technology use in early childhood education.
Images manipulation and creation programs like these can be combined with other technology in early childhood classrooms such as digital cameras like that from a smartphone or standalone camera.
They are also fantastic for the development of ICT capability as this entails more than just the teaching of ICT techniques. Using technology in the early childhood classroom is accompanied by evidence based teaching strategies or instructional decision making that is informed by the best formative assessment strategies in early childhood education today.
So jump on in and learn more about Harnessing the potential of Technology in Early Childhood Education today.
Why is Technology important in Early Childhood?
There are many reasons why technology is important in education. It could have something to do with student motivation, engagement or even promoting inclusion. I have written extensively more about this in this early blog.
However, in this article, I am here to help you to understand how to harness the benefits of technology in early childhood education. There are many of which I will point out to you. To delve into this, it is important to understand why is technology important in early childhood education? In a nutshell, though, you need to remember that:
- Young children are beginning their education with varying degrees of technology literacy due to the increasing presence of ICT in their lives and of those people around them.
- Countries such as Australia, for example, have embedded technology literacy learning outcomes in both the EYLF and the Australian Curriculum.
- Young children need to find out and identify the uses of technology in their everyday lives.
- Lastly, because most are familiar with technology use when they enter your learning environment it is your responsibility as an early childhood teacher to build on their ‘technology literacy’ or ICT capability.
The importance of technology in early childhood education then becomes quite clear.
This online PD for Early Childhood Educators comes with Free Resources.
Yet, technology requires thoughtful integration into the early childhood curriculum, or it may fall short of its promise. You must match the technology to each child’s unique special needs, learning styles, and individual preferences. With such an enormous scope for the integration of technology into young children’s early childhood education activities it is vital that you help children to become aware of technology use through the integration of technology across the entire curriculum.
You may also worry that you don’t have the expertise or the necessary equipment or time to put into practice the effective use of technology in early childhood education. As a result, technological equipment may be a barrier for you developing ICT capability across the curriculum because of its limited use.
There is a plethora of technology in early years education that can be used successfully and that can be integrated well in learning environments. These include some of which:
- Digital technology that works;
- Digital technology that doesn’t work;
- Toy technologies that resemble digital technologies like mobile phones;
- And my favourite, technologies that the children make themselves.
Key examples include programmable toys, art software, webcams, video cameras, digital camera etc.
You will find more detailed description of these within our free online workshops for preschool teachers, kindergarten teachers, and early primary teachers.
You mustn’t also forget that examples of technology in early childhood education also includes software as well. We are talking about software that we use ourselves as adults. This is important because young children need to learn how to use the software being used today in everyday lives as opposed to buying a new software that child-orientated.
This has another benefit when it comes to integrating technology in the preschool classroom. When do you have the time to learn about new technology? By sticking with something that you are familiar with you don’t spend time learning about it. It comes down to imagining the potential for learning with the technology in the context in which it will be taught.
Other examples of technology in early childhood classrooms include:
- Word processors;
- Drawing and painting programs;
Given this, you might ask the question how does technology effect early childhood education? Technology use in early childhood education can be used in the following roles:
- Children using ICT in their play or learning;
- Children and practitioners using ICT together to scaffold children’s learning.
- Children and practitioners using ICT together to document and reflect on children’s learning, or to share children’s learning with parents, or other practitioners.
- Practitioners using ICT for planning, administration, and information management.
How we support Early Childhood Practitioners?
Supporting you as an early childhood practitioner, whether you are in preschool, kindergarten, child care or early primary, is of utmost importance in the process of developing a young child’s ICT capability. This free online workshop for early childhood teachers covers many points earlier discussed in this article and encompasses evidence based teaching strategies in early childhood education.
Technology in preschool education is harnessed when you learn about pedagogy in ICT and ICT integration in ECE – two key educational paths of early childhood educators today (UNESCO, 2020). By planning for technology use in early childhood education, you will ensure that ICT/technology is viewed as a tool to support and enhance teaching and learning.
As a course paricipant, you receive huge deals on our advanced online pd for early childhood educators.
Titled “Harness Technology in Early Childhood Education” you will not only learn about technology in early childhood classrooms, but gain the expertise you need to effectively plan the integration of ICT across the entire curriculum in the following ways:
- Conduct a thorough analysis of the situation.
- Maximise formative assessments in early childhood ICT activities, tasks and projects
- Select developmentally appropriate ICT tools for learning.
- Employ sound instructional decisions that develop child technology literacy.
- Promote literacy and numeracy development with ICT
- Encourage creative uses of ICT tools.
- Facilitate the progression of ICT Capability in Early Childhood
- Implement a Universal framework for Inclusion with Technology
Advanced Course Cost: $460 for course lifetime access OR $50 Aud per month.
You will learn how is technology used in early childhood education to build and develop a young child’s ICT capability or technology literacy.
This online course for preschool teachers delivers the best practice in early childhood education in relation to using technology in early childhood education. Already, you have been witnessed to some examples of integrating digital technology in early childhood education. As discussed earlier, technology requires thoughtful integration into the early childhood curriculum, or it may fall short of its promise. You must match the technology to each child’s unique special needs, learning styles, and individual preferences.
Here is what other early childhood teachers have said about this technology in ECE online workshop:
"I really enjoyed this course! It was very informative and well researched. It gave detailed descriptions regarding all areas outlined in the objectives. The videos made the learning seem more interactive! The tasks were very beneficial and applicable to my future teaching practices!" – Dominique
"I enjoyed the course as it was something I was interested in. I am glad there were videos as I find it hard to sit and read the text the whole time. When I asked for help I was able to have my question answered. The resources/ articles were awesome I will be keeping them to help for the future. " – Akala
Completing this online workshop will contribute to 5 hours of NESA and TQI registered PD addressing 2.6.2, 4.5.2, and 5.1.2 of Australian Professional Standards for Teachers towards maintaining Proficient Teacher Accreditation in NSW, ACT, Qld, and Vic in Australia.
This course abides to the guiding principles of technology and early childhood education. Join colleagues now and learn how to “Harness Technology in Early Childhood Education today” by understanding what is the appropriate use of technology in early childhood education?
Key Issues in the use of Technology in ECE
In the 21st century society, lives are dominated and influenced by Information and Communication Technology (ICT). These are becoming more embedded and ubiquitous in the environment around children to the extent that they are having a profound effect on all aspects of our lives.
One of the key ICT issues that this brings up is the fact that ICT is now being ‘taken for granted’.
The impact of technology in early childhood education can, like other sectors of child development be viewed through two different lenses. Negative effects of technology such as social and cognitive development are key concerns. On the other hand, benefits of ICT in early childhood education such as learning enhancement are powerful reasons. We will investigate these all.
In this video, you will learn how to dispel what some might say are the negative effects of technology in early childhood education so let us begin with these.
So what are the potential risks of using ICT in the early years? Today there is much literature to do with safety concerns when integrating ICT in preschool for example. It is important to note, when reading studies from these authors that they warn us about the risks and dangers of playing computer games. They also lack information about the modern trends in ICT use in many innovative ECE centres (UNESCO, 2010).
Cognitive, Social and Emotional Development
This is a key issue that has many concerned, however, concerns have been linked to thoughts of software developers targeting young children, their parents and even early childhood education teachers and centres with “educational” games that might not be educational or appropriate to children.
Could a solitary game lead to social isolation?
Not if you believe it is your responsibility as the adult or teacher to critically appraise computer games used by children to identify whether or not they might include or promote violence.
Adults and teachers are also responsible for the supervision of children. So leaving a child with a piece of technology without any planning or supervision of it will not benefit the child.
If you plan for the effective integration of ICT in early childhood education activities in a productive way then it is believed that new opportunities for all forms of social interaction can occur.
Additionally, the use of computers does not have to mean unsupported, low level drill and skill exercises. The importance of not using ‘drill and practice’ programs has already been discussed in other articles.
Computers can be integrated well into socio-dramatic role plays if it is in a carefully structured learning environment. Well planned role play environments have been said to be a significant area for this to occur. When you intervene as a teacher, it could have a significant impact on their ICT capabilities in addition to being able to challenging them intellectually.
At this stage in their lives, children are making a strong bond to family and home. Therefore, their skills around e-safety should be developed. The key to this is forming a strong relationship with key adults such as their parents or carers.
Children at this age are more vulnerable to content so their use of ICT should be restricted in terms of what they should access, watch, and play with, when and for how long. Everyone has a role to play in empowering children to be safe while using ICT in their lives.
Harmful Physical Effects
Research indicates that this is mainly to do with adult related injuries such as repetitive strain injuries, eye fatigue and postural effects. Technology for early childhood education should always be used responsibly. While children are learning about technology in their world, they need to learn how to manage their own spaces and selecting the right ICT tools when sitting at a computer.
It is important that you are able to find the balance required if your early childhood centre is to enjoy the benefits of technology in early childhood education.
The above issues represent what some authors consider to be the main negative effects of technology in early childhood education. Let us now have a closer look at the benefits of ICT in early childhood education.
The childhood stage is a stage from which parents need to learn to take the best possible advantage as the rapid learning that their children can have during this time becomes evident. It’s clear that children learn to use technological devices very quickly, but that this happens doesn’t indicate that it’s best for them to use devices like these because such devices can generate some complications due to their misuse.
To avoid any complications that may arise, parents should be very attentive to prioritize their children's use of technology, one of those priorities is education. The content that electronic devices offer can illustrate many dynamic ways to learn various things that our children can appreciate, instead of allowing them to play or see something that is not very useful, we can teach them to read through stories to children, creating drawings or landscapes from taking shapes that the device offers, learning new words, inventing stories with drawings, and many other things.
It is important to consider the status of each child and adapt their capabilities to the use of technology so that more effective learning is generated.
When used correctly, ICT in the Early Years can be used to:
- Support children’s cognitive and emotional development, and the development of social and co-operative skills;
- Assist in the emergence of early literacy and mathematical thinking;
- “Level the playing field” for children with special learning needs;
- Enhance and strengthen relationships between children and adults, or give adults new ways to gain insight into children’s thinking or their interests, thereby providing opportunities to better support and scaffold children’s learning; and
- Facilitate the emergence of “new literacies” or “multiliteracies” in children (Hill & Broadhurst, 2001; Pastor & Kerns, 1997).
Examples of ICT tools and Technology in ECE
In a world that is becoming more technology dominated, early childhood education and care centres and schools can’t ignore the ever growing need for children in their care to learn about the use of technology in their lives.
Technology in early childhood education can categorised into various segments or purposes such as literacy and language ICT tools, creativity tools, and so on. In previous articles, these have all been listed.
I have gathered them all in this list below. Many of the ICT tools can be used for many purposes. Don’t forget that the term ICT tools also incorporate the use of software and programs as well.
List of Technology for the ECE Learning Environment
Below is a good list of examples of technology in early childhood education that will get you started in successfully integrating the early years curriculum and learning environment.
- Digital cameras.
- Digital video cameras.
- Programmable toys such as bee bots.
- Old overhead projectors.
- Role-play toys such as defunct mobile phones or laptops or keyboards.
- Computers/laptops and tablet computers like iPads.
- Sound recorders and listening devices.
- Walkie talkies.
- Metal detectors.
- Cassette recorders
- Art programs such as MS Paint or Paint 3D.
- Digital movie maker.
- Literacy and language software such as MS Word for the development of ICT capability.
- Spreadsheets such as MS Excel for numeracy learning and development.
The most important example of all……Children’s hand-made technology devices!
The list above demonstrates that you don’t have to have the most up-to-date technology or program there is for the children in your care to learn in a technology-rich learning environment.
Remember, technology integration in the classroom is not about this, it is about imagining the potential of the 'here and now' technology for learning.
5 Ways Tech can be used in Child Care Today
Information and Communication Technology is fast becoming embedded in children’s lives. As ICT continues to do so, it is important that you support children in their ICT learning so that they will become proficient users of ICT in society.
Child care technology can give early childhood teachers and carers the opportunity to build upon technological literacy and ICT capability. It is also a great opportunity to share and learn together with children. Amongst the upmost importance is the chance to help form the notion within children that child care technology is a tool for learning.
Here are 5 ways child care technology can be used within the early learning setting as a learning, playing and communication tool.
Connect with others
One of the best things about technology in early childhood education is its ability to connect people and close great distances. There are many great ways that this can be achieved. Creating and sharing videos, video chatting with families or at times sharing classes can be fun for children when using child care technology.
Researching and Exploring
Either by tablet computers or using a desktop, you can help young children research on the Internet particular topics that may be of interest to them and encourage exploring into more knowledge for them. This is a good way to facilitate capabilities in ICT such as modelling and demonstrating the best practices to search online.
It is important that you use apps that promote higher order thinking skills and give children full control over in order to further their ICT capability when using child care technology. Apps need to help children solve problems, build and create. Examples of this type of child care technology would be drawing and painting apps, apps that allow the creation of short videos.
Tinkering with Technology
Have you thought about the amount of e-waste out there? E-waste is unused technology such as old keyboards and computers. An idea could be to dismantle defunct technology to see what is inside them. It would be important first to ensure that any batteries and power packs are removed before any such activity.
Such child care technology like this is great in order to promote coding skills in young children. Robotics is also fun for learning and play! It promotes problem solving along with thinking about the directionality of the toys like bee bots.
With any use of child care technology, it is important that you just don’t use for the sake of using the technology. There is ample research and evidence today that with informed planning and evidence based teaching strategies the development of ICT capability can occur child care technology activities.
How to support Digital Play in Early Childhood Education
THIS IS AN EXCERPT FROM MY ONLINE PD FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATORS – HOW TO SUPPORT PLAY BASED LEARNING IN EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION WITH DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY. You can gain instant access to this course by becoming a member of our Academy for just $50 AUD today
Digital literacy in early childhood education is about considering the use of digital technology in early childhood education for the early acquisition of digital skills to be part of young children’s communication development.
Many young children enter early learning environments with varying degrees of capabilities in digital technology. Therefore, for many early childhood educators teaching digital literacy in early childhood education is not about the question of technical competence, but more a question of being able to apply effective pedagogical interaction. Additionally, they also understand that ‘moral work’ also has further weight than dealing with technical competencies with digital technology in early childhood education.
The position statement from Early Childhood Australia, the main governing organisation in Australia for young children in education, titled “Statement on Young Children and Digital Technologies” clearly outlines how digital literacy can be achieved in the early years through four aspects of digital play – Relationships; Health and Wellbeing; Citizenship; and Play and Pedagogy.
For young children, it means developing skills in the use of images and sound to convey information, ideas and feelings about themselves, their activities, and their environment using electronic media. They will begin to develop skills to organise and analyse information.
Young children, with reference to the EYLF, will demonstrate how to use ICT to investigate and problem-solve, identifying uses of digital technology in everyday life, using digital technologies to access images and information, and to use digital technologies as tools for designing, creating, editing, drawing, reflecting and composing in meaningful play in early childhood education.
How is Technology used in Early Childhood Education?
Digital play in the early years is the early childhood pedagogy of choice for those who wish to support digital technology in early childhood education. Digital literacy activities for preschoolers include that which we cover in our full transformation and implementation online pd for early childhood educators. Here are are some of the ways we answer the question 'how is technology used in early childhood education'?
The use of digital storytelling in early childhood education brings with it many benefits for young children. Storytelling itself, makes us feel part of the community which is also important in the early learning setting. It teaches the story of life and shapes mental models. It encourages children to become creators of content, rather than just consumers.
Creative play with iPads
Creative development plays a very significant part in a young child’s learning in the early years curriculum. It is strongly linked to play, and the curiosity of children continues to drive the enhancement of their dispositions. Creativity in the early learning environment allows children to participate in and gain from learning. So, promoting creativity in early childhood education is vital to a young child’s learning and development.
Outdoor Play based learning
Digital technology in early childhood education such as iPads and other mobile technologies can also provide digital literacy activities for preschoolers when educators facilitate a structured learning environment that is scaffolded appropriately.
Other examples of digital literacy activities for early years include:
- Digital role play in early childhood education;
- Nurturing creativity in early childhood education with drawing and painting software.
How the pandemic has increased the importance of tech in early childhood education?
A number of years ago, I highlighted in a blog a number of reasons why digital technology in early childhood education is important. It continues to be a significant discussion between educators and families.
However, the world has now changed to a place where it is no longer practical to ignore or avoid technology use in early childhood education and care.
For a long time now, we as educators have been witness to the level of capabilities in digital technologies young children already possess even before they enter our early childhood learning environment. They are omnipresent in their lives as society continues develop new and emergent technology at an astounding rate.
In the words of Dr Chip Donohue, an expert who I have had the pleasure of co-hosting my online workshops with, “These are tools of the children’s world, these are tools of their culture, these are tools that will be critical for their school readiness and success. We don’t have a choice to say, ‘we choose not to’ ”.
It is time to once again re-evaluate the importance of technology in early childhood education.
What is the importance of technology in early childhood education?
Significant changes to the world’s global environment and climate have occurred over the past 2 years with the Covid-19 pandemic teaching us how important the role of digital technology is. This unprecedented event has changed the world and has refocused society on technology.
Throughout this pandemic, we have all seen the rise of online classrooms and discussion forums such as Zoom. Online learning has really taken off since then and digital classrooms are being considered more now than ever.
All this while in the past few years there has been a move towards more tangible interfaces such as robotics, STEM learning and coding in the classroom.
According to Dr Kate Highfield, another scholar who I have had the pleasure of meeting, “There are now a number of tools where children can create and design their own technologies or create new ways of interfacing with the technology.”
She goes on to state…
“Of course, the use of technology should always be integrated within a holistic learning experience’ she continues, ‘but in order to succeed in our digital information age, childcare professionals of today need access to technology that supports children’s individual learning goals and brings their daily program to life.”
5 Ways to Integrate Technology
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.
What are the benefits of Technology in preschool and early childhood care today?
In light of this, the importance of technology in early childhood education remains to be the following:
Use of technology as a tool
It is vital that young children view of technology use in early childhood education as a tool. This is an important reason for employing an integrated approach to technology. So that they understand that it is a tool that is designed for particular purposes when required. However, it is only through effective planning for integration that will this happen.
There is no doubt that young children are increasingly exposed to digital technologies in their lives by the people and environment that surrounds them. They will inevitably enter your early childhood learning environment with various degrees of capabilities whether you like this fact or not. Most young children know how to swipe using an iPad touch screen or have played with a smartphone.
By integrating digital technology into the curriculum you are demonstrating your own capabilities as a responsive educator by valuing and building on their technical expertise and also helping them to better understand their technological surroundings.
It aids School Readiness
Many curriculums around the globe such as the Australian Primary and Secondary curriculum, are now supporting the integration of digital technology in meaningful contexts. In fact, they recently changed the general capability associated with this – ICT capability – to what it is now called the Digital literacy capability.
It is therefore, the responsibility of early childhood teachers to prepare young children with the use of digital technologies that will support their learning and aid them in their transition to primary education and so forth.
Additionally, as educators you have access to more innovative and improved teaching methods that allow you to promote learning and create an active learning environment for the children in your care.
It supports a well-rounded curriculum
When digital technology is used in an imaginative way to deliver the curriculum and is threaded through your early learning goals, whether it may be from EYFS or EYLF, the quality of what is taught and learned is further developed and the effectiveness of the learning process for young children is increased.
Technology use in early childhood education can the learning and play experiences tremendously. Digital whiteboards, researching using the Internet and specific innovative and creative apps and software can support many opportunities for creative, social, personal and emotional development. Additionally, through the simple of a word processor children’s literacy, language and communication development can be achieved in a more effective manner.
Dr Kate Highfield states…
“We’re not talking about the overuse of the device; we’re talking about using it in balance. It’s the same as the idea of a healthy diet, where we just use a little bit of digital play, and a lot of physical play.”
It inspires collaboration
Digital technology has the natural ability to bring children together and this encourages collaboration amongst them. In turn, through collaboration language and communication skills are further developed along with important social skills.
It encourages connectedness and education
Children can collaborate on digital projects not just in the classroom but in other classrooms in other early childhood learning centres too.
Preschool Lesson Plans
If you are after technology lesson plans for kindergarten then you need not look no further. By becoming a member our ICT in Education Teacher Academy for just $5.99 per month (cancel anytime), you will gain instant access to our activities and lesson plans.
Here are a few examples of how you can integrate technology in creative play and language development exercises.
Preschool Technology Activity 1
Preschool Technology Activity 2
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