By Michael Hilkemeijer
In order to ensure that you create a positive impact of technology in early childhood education, it is important that you understand the way that children learn with technology.
This understanding will underpin the way that Information and Communication Technology support learning.
What are the learning theories that will underpin your success in integrating technology in early childhood activities and
How will they help you shine in front of your colleagues today?
***NOTE: This content is part of my online PD for early childhood teachers >>> Harness Technology in Early Childhood Education Today (11 hours of PD)
Learning Theories that Underpin your Success
Constructivism in Early Childhood Education
Constructivism is very prominent in early childhood settings and it has several implications in numeracy and science for example.
This also relates to the use of technology in preschool activities as knowledge is constructed by the learner from technology experiences in interacting with their environment.
Your goal should be to stimulate conceptual change and this takes you beyond the different roles of ICT in the repetitive practice of basic ICT skills.
It is important that you provide children with experiences that will conflict with their naïve ideas and this allows you to intervene to resolve the ‘cognitive conflict’ through conceptual change.
At the end of every intentional session, make sure that they reflect on their experiences as reflection plays a vital role in constructivism theories.
Successful integration of technology in the early learning environment is what makes a difference in reforming a classroom.
The use of technology and constructivism can enhance the cognitive powers of children during thinking, problem-solving, and learning.
This is similar to ‘constructivism’ and its theories have much more to say directly about teaching and learning.
Vygotsky’s Zone of proximal development features well and truly here and his ideas can suggest much about the value of the use of technology.
The value of collaborative learning has been explored in many contexts and the role of technology tools has been highlighted in many of these.
So what you need to know is that as we continue forward in a technological world there will be children with different ICT capabilities and this may be as a result of the ‘digital divide’.
Children will enter your early learning environment with different capabilities in ICT. Some can already perform confidently while others cannot begin to engage with technology because of their unfamiliarity.
The range of activity in between may be carried out by the learner and this is the ZPD.
I talk about this more in my full course when discussing key strategies in what they define as scaffolding when using technology in preschool activities.
This refers mainly to being able to provide authentic experiences of ICT in preschool and in other early learning environments.
It requires the reflection of authentic practices of technology in the curriculum so is fundamentally important that you plan for these experiences.
Look for ways in which ICT can improve the authenticity of classroom activities.
Brain based Ideas
The use of technology can help improve learning through visual aids, auditory and kinaesthetic (physical movement and touch).
Multimedia presentation that incorporates images, sound and animation is likely to be more effective than just oral/verbal exposition.
Additionally, the interaction with the keyboard also offers the kinaesthetic element and this is sometimes difficult to integrate in the classroom environment.
This refers to ‘knowing what you know’ and is important because knowing how well they are likely to perform in a situation will affect the way children approach a task and how successful they are.
It is important in developing capabilities with technology in preschool activities.
ICT capability involves an interaction between technical facts and processes, strategic knowledge, metacognitive knowledge and affective aspects of mind including self-confidence and a disposition to use technology in preschool activities.
So you need to decide whether you want to develop ICT capabilities in your early learning environment.
These are all the learning theories that will underpin just how successful you are in integrating technology in early learning environments today.