By Michael Hilkemeijer
The best and most effective way to help children develop independence with ICT is through role play.
Good quality role play gives children the opportunity to make sense of their technological world in which they live in.
Children are surrounded by ICT wherever they go and they need to explore and make of it in meaningful context.
In these situations, children are allowed to play with ICT tools that they would normally not be allowed to touch on some occasions at home.
Role play activities that use ICT give children the confidence to begin to use new ICT tools with which they are less familiar and might not otherwise use or be reluctant to use.
That is why one of things which I encourage you to do is bring in defunct ICT – in other words, old and unused pieces of equipment such as:
- Computer mouse.
- Mobile phones
This list also includes ICT toys!
ICT Activities for early childhood
When children incorporate these pieces of technology in their role play activities, they are using their imaginations. This in turn supports their understanding of their world.
At best, you as an early childhood teacher should encourage children to use the equipment appropriately and safely.
It is essential that you also encourage conversation about how the technology works by using the correct terminology.
You will need to plan for these types of role play activities by developing a clear understanding of children’s ICT competencies in relation to the vast range of everyday ICT tools and resources which already inhabits their lifestyles.
It is important that you do value these ICT competencies which they develop at home and appreciate that the competencies that you have in ICT will affect that of children in your care.
In order to plan effect role play activities with ICT tools and develop an understanding of the competencies in ICT that children, you need to ask more than what ICT is available in the home.
Determine the access that children have to ICT and understand the nature of the ICT activities and experiences which they have had at home.
Only then will you be in the position to effectively plan challenging role play activities with ICT for groups and/or individuals.
According to Price (2009, p89) you need to consider the following:
- Children’s own life experiences and knowledge.
- How the children will be involved in the setting up of the role play area.
- The attitudes of the adults and their involvement in the play.
- The space available.
- Will be indoors or outdoors?
- The time available in the setting’s daily routine.
- Whether there is the opportunity for the role play to develop over time.
- The quality and appropriates of the ICT tools and resources.