How to promote creativity with ease?

By Michael Hilkemeijer

Welcome to my page which discusses how you can nurture creativity in early childhood education with digital technologies.

 

You will learn from this technology in early childhood education resources:

  • What is creativity in early childhood?
  • Importance of Creativity in Early Childhood Education
  • Stages in Creative Play in Early Years
  • Why do technology and creativity work well together?
  • Creativity in the Early Years curriculum.
  • What can you do (as a teacher) to support children's creativity in the classroom?
  • How does technology affect children's creativity?
  • Creative learning environments - key aspects.
  • What are creative technologies in early childhood education?
  • How to inspire creativity in the classroom?
  • How we help you to develop a digital pedagogy for creative technology use in early childhood education?
  • Examples of preschool creative activities in our online training for early childhood educators.

 

Creativity Play in ECE with Technology

NURTURING CREATIVITY IN EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION is a 3 + hour technology in early childhood education resource that you can access as a member of our ICT in Education Teacher Academy. As you can see in the image above, membership costs $20 per month and the online workshop for preschool teachers comes with full support for you as an educator with pre-made preschool lesson plans that will help you to maximise the impact of your available creative technologies. 

Apply these strategies within this online workshop today as a member of the Academy together with the preschool lesson plans now.

ACCESS THIS COURSE AS A MEMBER NOW FOR JUST $20 PER MONTH

 

What is Creativity in Early Childhood Education?

When discussing promoting creativity in early childhood education I am really referring to creative play in the early years setting. What is creative play in the early years then? It is when you as the educator give young children to opportunity to make mistakes and allow them to express their ideas in forms such as dramatic play, music, dance, storytelling and art. All of which digital technology can greatly assist.

 

Defining Creativity in ECE

For a long time, many theorists such as Piaget, Montessori, Vygotsky, and Bruner have recognised the significance of creativity in early childhood education. The overwhelming result is that it lies at the heart of much of the philosophies surrounding the education of young children. It means that there is no definitive definition of what is creativity in early childhood education.

 

 

For Price (2009), it is about children discovering new connections and making new connections. It also has something to do with process. Creativity in early childhood education may or may not result in an end product. As an early childhood practitioner, you need to engage in and capture the processes to support children’s creativity. This support will come from your observation and evaluation of their play in addition to building carefully on what they are engaged with and interested in.

 

 

 

Why Creative Play is essential for Preschoolers today?

The importance of creative play in early childhood education lies in discovering and making new connections. It literally fits right into the mold of learning through play and as you might already know, play is one of the key ways that young children learn and develop.

 

Creative play in early childhood education can help encourage the formation of skills that can be applied throughout their entire life such as:

  • Language development.
  • Physical development.
  • STEM concepts.
  • Social and emotional development.
  • Child autonomy as being part of independent and self-care.

 

 

By encouraging creative activities through the use of digital technologies in addition to the traditional approaches, you can help preschoolers, for example, achieve the following skills:

 

Develop imagination and creativity;

  • Build confidence;
  • Understand and express emotions;
  • Learn about the technological world and its place in it;
  • Communicate thoughts, experiences or ideas using ICT;
  • Practice and improve social skills through collaboration;
  • Practice and improve fine and gross motor skills and hand-eye coordination;
  • Build vocabulary and memory;
  • Practice decision making, problem-solving and critical thinking.

 

 

Stages in Creative Play in Early Years

According to Graham Wallas (social psychologist) creative development in early childhood education has several developmental stages and include:

 

  1. Preparation – also known as the ‘planning’ stage of creativity, where the learner readies themselves to think through what they are going to do.  
  2. Incubation – also known as ‘unconscious processing’. This stage is where the learner steps back to contemplate their creative goal, or planned outlet.
  3. Illumination - this stage is the moment where everything falls into place for the learner, it is easy to think of this stage as the ‘lightbulb moment’ of the creative process.  
  4. Verification – this is the stage where everything ties together. Everything is finalised for the learner and is evaluated.

(www.myfirstfiveyears.com)

 

 

 

Preschool creative activities

Why do creativity and technology work well together?

The successful integration of ICT in early childhood education allows for the inextricably associated practical outcomes in meaningful subject-related contexts. This no doubt can lead to the development of ICT capabilities whose key elements are largely practical.

 

However, as with creativity when integrating ICT in preschool activities it is not the product that is important but the process. With ICT capability the produce will only provide partial and often very limited evidence of a child’s ICT capabilities. Similarly, with creativity you should be encouraging the thinking skills that lead you to the direction of the finished product.

 

For example, routines and ICT techniques require the combination of a series of sub-skills. Some of these are more sophisticated and/or efficient than others. A finished product may not reveal the methods used to complete it. A simple print out of a document will not reveal to you whether the positioning of text has been achieved by the repeated use of a space bar, the use of Tab marks or the inclusion of an invisible table.

 

You want to encourage critical and creative thinking in early childhood education so as to develop these as part of a collaborative process, supporting children to keep their flow and enthusiasm. It is important that you do not place emphasis on the final product and instead engage them in sustained shared thinking such as open-ended questions.

Become a member now - $20 per month (cancel anytime)

 

 

 

Creative learning activities for preschoolers

Creativity in the early years curriculum

 

Creative development plays a very significant part in a young child’s learning in the early years curriculum. Search of the term EYLF creativity and this would lead to the following opportunities for those who teach within EYLF.

 

EYLF learning outcome 4 – Children develop dispositions for learning such as curiosity, cooperation, confidence, creativity, commitment, enthusiasm, persistence, imagination and reflexivity.

 

Creativity is evident in children when:

  • They express wonder and interest in their environments.
  • They use play to investigate, imagine and explore ideas.
  • They initiate and contribute to play experiences emerging from their own ideas.
  • They participate in a variety of rich and meaningful inquiry-based experiences.
  • They are curious and enthusiastic participants in their learning.

 

 

This is further strengthened by the integration of ICT in early childhood education as highlighted in the ‘Statement on Young Children and Digital Technologies’ by Early Childhood Australia (ECA) when it pointed out that educators can create opportunities for young children to use ICT to create content, develop ideas and documenting learning. They could, for example, have two children use a digital microscope to examine natural materials found in the outdoor environment.

 

When you break down within the key learning areas such as drama, music, arts and craft – part of the foundation of creativity in early childhood education classrooms – promoting creativity can:

  • Foster creativity
  • Build your child’s confidence
  • Help your child express feelings and learn communication skills
  • Help your child develop, practise and improve coordination and motor skills
  • Give your child a chance to practice decision-making, problem-solving and critical thinking
  • Help your child find new ways of looking at things.

(www.raisingchildren.net.au )

 

Digital Creativity in the EYFS

References to the Early Years Foundation Stage (2018) have suggested that Expressive Arts and Design is one of the seven areas of learning and development. It highlighted that:

 

“…opportunities and encouragement for sharing … thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology.” (EYFS, 2018)

 

In the EYFS, creative development is used to capture children’s development in:

  • Responding to Experiences, Expressing and communicating ideas;
  • Exploring Media and Materials;
  • Creating Music and Dance and;
  • Developing imagination and imaginative play.

 

 

“Creating and Thinking Critically” is an important part of the curriculum and resembles a commitment to the principle of Learning and Development.

 

 

 

Creativity activities for preschoolers

What can you do to support children’s creativity in the classroom?

The next that needs to be taken when discussing creativity in early childhood education is understanding what can teachers do to support creativity in the classroom. Later on, I will show you how you can achieve this by integrating technology in the preschool classroom, however, here are some steps that you can take now.

 

Observational Learning

One of the best ways for you to support creativity with technology in preschool activities is by modelling its use creatively. Vicarious learning provides many benefits for young children as it helps them to observe, retain and replicate the actions of others. Other benefits include:

  • It takes risks out of the equation.
  • It is easier for them to obtain an experience.
  • Improvement in imitation and knowledge retention.
  • They learn from the stories that you tell.

 

Young children learn a great deal from observing you and other children’s use of ICT, so it is quite a powerful learning tool.

 

What can you do?

  • Document children’s learning in the form of observing and recording of their ongoing achievements. There are many benefits of to this that I discuss in this online training for early childhood educators that you will gain access to as a member of the Academy today.
  • Become familiar with creative technology. This will help you to sharpen your focus on your interventions and will enable you to identify the circumstances when children are ready to move on to a new feature or to use the software for a more demanding purpose.
  • Remember that it is not a question of how much technology you use but of using the technology you choose skilfully and imaginatively.

 

Nurturing creativity in early childhood education is about supporting rather than imposing ideas. You need to give them:

  • Time to be creative by allowing them to express wonder and interest.
  • Freedom to be curious when they want to be. You need to watch and reflect on children’s interactions.
  • Support by following their lead as they develop their investigative and exploratory skills.
  • Choices of a range of creative media and;
  • Inspiration to help them get started.

 

Being positive will also allow them to take the lead and to take charge of their play and explorations.

 

 

Other ways that you can boost creativity play in early childhood education:

Boost Creativity ICT in Preschool and Kindy by choosing the right software

Not everyone is for the use of ICT in early childhood education and often believe that technology is a distraction. Technology can be a distraction but only if the wrong technology is chosen.

 

Integrating technology in the preschool classroom, for example, should never be as a add on to the curriculum and should be about developing ICT capability in early childhood learning activities which include digital play. If you stick to this philosophy, then you will be able to understand that having the wrong distraction in the room can be avoided if you choose your use of technology in preschool activities in the following ways.

 

First, the children should always have full control over the software itself. Secondly, it should also be content-free and generic which makes them it possible for children to transfer their capabilities in ICT in preschool activities or kindy throughout other context. Finally, ensure that it does challenge children intellectually and promotes higher order thinking skills

 

As a teacher myself, I know how distractions cannot be good for teaching. However, you would be surprised to know that distractions can be good for creating a rich mix of creative thoughts in children.

 

 

Boost your own level of ICT capability

Building on your own levels of capabilities in ICT in preschool or kindy is not just about acquiring technical skills. Let’s face it…you are never going to know everything. It is important to note that it is through learning the best pedagogical approaches to technology integration such as that learned in our free online professional development for early childhood educators is the start for you.

 

As a teacher using ICT in preschool or kindergarten your capabilities in ICT is about knowing how to use them correctly for the right situation. So how can this boost creativity in early childhood education?

 

Research has proven that if teachers feel comfortable with their confidence and competence in ICT they tend to allow young children to explore the creative uses of ICT in preschool activities or kindy.

 

Additionally, children are naturally curious and creative so by giving them the freedom to explore you will be promoting creativity in early childhood education once you have provided them with the right software and tools to do so.

 

 

Blur the lines between learning and playing with ICT in preschool

Following on from my last tip, softening the lines between learning and playing will help boost creativity with technology in preschool activities. Once children understand that they can have fun while learning they’ll be more open to new ways of thinking and creating.

 

Furthermore, digital role playing can help to achieve this as it is often termed ‘learning without failure’. If you plan challenging and stimulating role play that builds on what they already know and can do then they will begin to explore creative ideas for use of ICT in their lives and understand it to be a tool that is designed for specific purpose and the many uses of it in their lives too.

 

In conclusion, you need to use ICT in preschool and kindy to promote creativity in early childhood education. This needs to occur individually and in groups. If you give them a secure environment with effective and sensitive adult support in which they can take risks and make mistakes without fear of failing then their creative ideas will flow. So right ensure that you find the right balance today.

 

 

Creativity activities for preschoolers

How does technology affect creativity in the early years?

Today, as every new generation of children continually gets exposed to new and emerging digital technologies they all become too much like the generations before them and tend to take technology for granted. They begin to see digital technology as part of their native environment.

 

As each new development in technology emerges with the other so does the flexibility of their application continue to grow. For example, the modern smartphone was originally designed for telecommunications but now has satnav, digital cameras, and many other things as a standard features.

 

All this means that the young children who enter your early learning environment are growing up in a world where they will not only have some degree of capability in Information and Communication Technology (ICT), but a world that expects them to have some degree of creativity with digital technologies.

 

 

Young Children in a Digital World

As discussed earlier, it is unrealistic for any early childhood practitioner to assume that a young child has not been exposed to digital technology or has a level of ICT capability. Therefore, it is essential that you not only understand and are mindful of how children interact with technology, but when you are planning on integrating technology in preschool classrooms that you consider the current level of ICT capability that a child may have.

 

Young children will learn how to use technology at home through observation and imitation as digital technologies continue to be a fabric of their lives. As a result, a child’s parents and even the wider family members would expect the child to benefit from the use of these digital resources in some way.

 

 

Digital Creativity and Innovation

When young children gain experience in digital creativity and innovation through exploring and expressing themselves creatively by creating content with technology in early childhood education, they develop creative literacy. Creative literacy is promoted through the use of ICT tools to create, adapt, or curate digital content.

 

However, promoting creativity in early childhood education with technology means that being trained in the effective use of ICT so as to develop your own capabilities in ICT. Effective online training for early childhood educators such as that we deliver must be aligned with UNESCO ICT competency.

 

 

How does technology affect children’s creativity?

 

It allows for a more interactive learning experience as they allow children to personalise their experiences and express themselves creatively and collaboratively. Many of these facilitate a blended learning experience in early childhood learning environments

 

Technology also enables children to problem-solve through ICT tools for early childhood education such as video games. A well-constructed adventure game will incorporate all or some of the following problem-solving skills:

  • Understanding and representing the problem.
  • Gathering and organising relevant information.
  • Constructing and managing a plan of action.
  • Reasoning, hypothesis testing and decision-making.
  • Using various problem-solving tools.

 

Creative play with ICT in early childhood learning environments also facilitates content creation.

 

 

Creative learning environment

The Creative Learning Environment

 

Like any other early childhood education teaching resource ICT can only offer a powerful and flexible means enhancing creative thinking and learning if it is skilfully used to drive and support the best pedagogical practices in early childhood education. Barnaby and Burghart (2017 as cited in FirstDiscovers) defines the priorities for digital creativity:

 

“Children require an enabling environment and positive relations between themselves, their family, practitioners and other children, in order to develop their abilities, confidence and independence.”

 

Giving children freedom of choice and enabling them to learn first-hand by actively doing things is essential. This should be supported with scaffolding and effective planning by you as the practitioner. Planning will need to go beyond just keeping screen-based technology and media separate from sand and water play. The digital play resources need to be differentiated to enable those of mixed abilities to participate fully in every curriculum activity.

 

Differentiated learning in early childhood education approaches recommended include:

  • by resource – where different software, games and other elements could suit a range of abilities,
  • by grouping – where participant numbers could be flexibly adjusted to better satisfy different social needs etc.,
  • by activity – where a mix of topics could be used to accommodate different preferences.

 

 

Early childhood learning environments are nurturing spaces for young children in early childhood education. They include classrooms, play spaces, areas for caregiving routines, and outdoor areas. They need to be safe to support the learning and development of young children.

 

In the realm of early childhood education, creating an optimal early childhood learning environment is crucial for setting children up for success. The early years of a child's life are pivotal in shaping their cognitive, social, and emotional development. As educators, parents, and caregivers, it is essential to understand the key strategies that can ensure a conducive learning environment.

 

 

This section delves into the various elements that contribute to an optimal early childhood learning environment. By employing these strategies, educators can foster a love for learning, stimulate curiosity, and promote holistic development in young learners. Whether you are a teacher looking to enhance your classroom or a parent seeking to create a nurturing home environment, this article will provide you with practical insights and actionable tips to create an environment that maximizes learning potential and sets the stage for lifelong success.

 

One of the primary benefits of an optimal early childhood learning environment is the promotion of holistic development. By providing a well-rounded and stimulating environment, children have the opportunity to develop their cognitive, physical, social, and emotional skills simultaneously. This integrated approach to learning ensures that children receive a comprehensive education that prepares them for future academic and personal success.

 

Additionally, an optimal learning environment fosters a love for learning and promotes curiosity in young learners. When children are placed in an environment that encourages exploration, discovery, and creativity, they become active participants in their own learning journey. This not only enhances their motivation to learn but also equips them with the necessary skills to become lifelong learners.

 

Creating an optimal early childhood learning environment is also crucial for addressing individual differences and catering to diverse learning needs. Each child is unique and has their own learning style, interests, and abilities. By providing a flexible and inclusive environment, educators can ensure that all children have equal opportunities to learn and thrive.

 

Typically, there are three interdependent components of learning environments:

  • Physical environment – the overall design and layout of a room;
  • Social environment – the interactions that occur within the learning environment between the children, teachers, and family members;
  • Temporal environment – the timing, sequence, and length of routines and activities that take place throughout the day.

 

A good early childhood learning environment promotes independence and autonomy with digital technology and ICT. The following information comes from case studies where I have sorted out the important information that you will need to use ICT to support independence. It will help you create a vision for a technology-enabled learning environment that is child-centred, playful, creative, and interactive.

 

 

Creating an independent technology-rich learning space

  • Familiarise yourself with all regulations which concern any aspect of using ICT in the ECE centre;
  • Remember that your children’s safety is the highest priority;
  • Do not accept old hardware which somebody wants to donated to you;
  • When selecting software ensure that you adhere to the DATEC criteria;
  • Build your ICT space – remember your priorities are (a) safety; (b) functionality and practicality so that you will be able to integrate the ICT resources into different activities; (c) manageability – the successful integration of digital technology can begin with just one computer or iPad; (d) arrangement – you should be able to easily supervise everybody and everything going on in the corner; (e) flexibility – as your needs evolve, the space should allow for future modifications.
  • Have the ICT corner connected to the Internet;
  • Have new furniture made for that space if possible;
  • Pay attention to proper lighting – this must be easily adjustable;
  • In addition to the ICT requirements the corner must meet all the requirements for an safe early childhood learning environment;
  • If you have IWB you will need to pay attention to its height so that children could easily operate it independently;
  • Establish the rules of usage – for your colleagues as well as for the children. Ensure that they are clear, visible and understandable to both children and staff and parents;
  • All wires must be hidden.

 

 

For children to choose and play independently it is a good idea to have a provision of ICT tools to incorporate into the areas of learning such as:

  • Everyday technology or role-play toys;
  • Computer and printer;
  • Webcam and microphone;
  • Carefully chosen software;
  • Internet access;
  • Interactive whiteboard;
  • Digital camera;
  • Digital moviemaker;
  • Talking photo albums and cards;
  • Metal detectors;
  • Programmable toys.

 

Creativity in early childhood classrooms can be observed in many everyday activities when young children demonstrate:

  • Creative stories in their play
  • Mix colours for a painting
  • Negotiate disagreements in their play
  • Explain things each other.

(Source: Early Childhood Australia)

 

 

 

 

Additionally, using tablet computers such as iPads can be used to create a more inclusive early childhood learning environment.

 

Play and pedagogy are two constructs that have informed recommendations for an early childhood learning environment that should be based on exploration, creativity, imagination, motion, and emotions that integrate play in daily practices in ways that enable them to meet their learning outcomes.

 

In a digital society, the goals of a technology-rich learning environment should always be empowerment and independence. The value that ICT can add to an early childhood learning environment depends on the choices that you make as an early childhood practitioner about which tools to select, and when and how to use them; your understanding of how these ICT tools can support children’s learning, development, and play.

 

For you to make these choices will involve you becoming familiar with contemporary theories about learning and development, and recognise how these can be linked to the use of ICT.

 

 

Creativity activities for preschoolers

What are Creative technologies in early childhood education?

Learning activities in the early childhood learning environment are generally built on a foundation of creativity, play and experimentation. What are technologies that can support promoting creativity in early childhood education?

 

The idea of technologies enabling creativity has been circling around the world by educational researchers for quite some time. Generation ‘C’ are the young children in your early childhood learning environment who will and should be able to produce and share digital content such as blogs, digital images, digital audio or video files, and SMS messages.

 

Digital Literacy in Early Childhood Education

It will be these children who will be and should be digitally fluent and fearless in their use of technology as they are released to join the continuing list of developments. What are the digital literacy skills children are expected to learn at the end of their four year phase of education?

 

Here is a suggested list of basic skills.

 

Skills Experiences

Basic operations associated with PC and laptop computers (turning on/off, navigating around the screen, use of a mouse, how many clicks of mouse button)

 

Basic web-searching (understanding what a search engine is, keywords for searching)

 

Use of commonly used programs (MS Word & PowerPoint, how to create new documents, how to save)

 

How to use a digital camera and associated skills (use of buttons, framing pictures, zoom, how to transfer pictures to a computer)

 

How to record your voice.

 

 

How digital movies are made (either hands-on or assisted)

 

How to play a DVD – steps in operating the DVD players and TV

 

How to save something on the computer

 

How to use more complex technologies  (for example, LEGO Robotics, Bee Bots)

 

How to use a touch pad (for example, tablet computers such as iPads)

 

How to use an interactive whiteboard (with a pen or finger), how to use particular programs

Familiarity with terms associated with computers (for example, names of programs)

 

 

 

Understanding how to use keywords to find information.

 

Knowing some terms associated with the Internet.

 

 

 

How to frame images – considering how to set up a shot, what you are trying to take, visual literacy

 

 

Social experiences – working in pairs or groups; turn-taking and sharing

 

Literacy experiences – language associated with content, new terms associated with technologies.

 

Fine motor skills development (manipulating devices)

 

Complex problem-solving

 

Rich tasks (for example, LEGO Robotics that incorporated STEM)

 

Learning via modelling – watching, practising and then using skills and techniques

 

Conversation with peers about technology – what they can do, what they have seen, new uses.

(Howell, 2013, p. 116)

 

 

 

Creative technology in early childhood education allows for creative activities that form one-third of your digital pedagogy as an early childhood teacher.

 

As a member of our Academy, you would be exposed to many early childhood learning experiences for creative technologies in our online training for early childhood educators titled ‘Nurturing Creativity in Early Childhood Education’.

 

 

How to inspire creativity in the classroom

How to inspire creativity in the classroom

 

The rate of technological innovation means that the list of creative technologies in this particular early childhood education resource is not exhaustive. You may or may not have some of these in your own early childhood learning environment which is why continual professional development and support is given through participant self-paced progression.

 

You can choose which creative technology you want to learn from as a result of determining the availability of the technology in your own early childhood learning environment and applying the preschool creative activities that come with the expertise that you need to make sound instructional decisions.

 

Creative technologies introduced in this technology in early childhood education resources include:

  • Digital cameras.
  • Digital storytelling/storybooks.
  • Interactive whiteboards
  • Mobile technologies such as tablet computers.
  • LEGO Robotics,
  • Graphics programs.
  • Word processors.
  • Touch tables
  • Programmable toys
  • Web-based learning.

 

Each of these creative technologies comes with activities to promote creativity in preschoolers. Here is an example to help you to learn how to inspire creativity in the classroom today.

 

 

Creative development activities for toddlers

How we help develop a Digital Pedagogy for Creative Technologies

 

Why do you need a digital pedagogy?

Many educators are familiar with such creative technologies, but private use of computers and technology is quite different from teaching with them in front of a classroom or setting up individual, pair or group work for children using digital technology in early childhood education and care. Educators need a digital pedagogy because just exposing young people to technology doesn’t make for effective learning as it will only lead the haphazard development of ICT capabilities for young children.

 

Research has shown that educators in the majority resemble ‘digital immigrants’ (Prensky, 2001). You could either be someone who has attempted to use ICT creatively or someone who has not yet embraced ICT in the way of promoting creativity in early childhood education.

 

To enable you to be pedagogically prepared, we provide you with the expertise that you need such as evidence-based strategies to encourage creativity and innovation in your own early childhood learning environment with the available technologies most likely to provide creative learning opportunities for young children.

 

Digital pedagogies start with a positive aptitude towards technology and it is through our creative learning activities for preschoolers that we hope that you will develop such an aptitude.

 

Teacher Capabilities

Technological skills are not the defining factor for effective digital pedagogical practices in early childhood education. Early childhood teacher ICT capability is not just about acquiring skills and while along the way you will develop a set of skills that is quite specific, you learning journey will be more about developing an understanding of and judgement about how to use those skills appropriately.

 

For example, using MS PowerPoint as a multimedia device falls within the ‘Discovering ICT’ educational pathway in this particular technology in early childhood education resource. However, once you can use PowerPoint or other presentation software and have access to a data projector, you could create a presentation for every lesson. As a teacher, you need to decide when such a presentation is an effective use of the technology in preschool creativities. A judgement needs to occur about the class or group of children that you are teaching in relation to deciding whether this would be better than other teaching techniques.

 

Here are some examples of types of skills required for particular types of technology in early childhood education.

Type of Technology in Early Childhood Education Types of Teacher Skills required
   

(Howell, 2013, p.120)

 

 

Choosing your own Professional learning Agenda

Our technology in early childhood education resource ‘Nurturing Creativity in Early Childhood Education’ is divided into two educational pathways for early childhood educators - Discovering ICT and Integrating ICT.

 

The above list of creative technologies is supported by activities to promote creativity in preschoolers in the following educational pathways.

 

Discovering ICT

In this particular section, we help you build and develop basic ICT competencies in the following creative technologies:

  • Graphics software – drawing and painting software.
  • Multimedia software such as stop motion animation software.
  • Word processing software as it allows children to be creative with text.
  • Presentation software such as MS PowerPoint.

 

Integrating ICT

In this particular section, we help you to utilise your own emergent ICT capabilities to integrate ICT and new digital pedagogies into your own early childhood learning environment via the learning processes of young children in the most efficient, attractive, safe and productive way in the following creative technologies:

  • Digital cameras.
  • Programmable toys and digital toys

 

Our online training for early childhood educators also includes:

  • Integrating ICT in ECE information and;
  • Pedagogical practices in early childhood education that incorporate ICT.

 

 

It is recommended (UNESCO, 2010) that you follow this particular order of your own professional learning journey as it will support your own learning with ICT in early childhood education:

  • Painting and drawing programs.
  • Working with text
  • Digital cameras
  • Multimedia.
  • Digital and programmable toys
  • Presentation software.

 

Preschool creative activities

Preschool Creative activities with ICT

Preschool creative activities are quite possibly the hardest to define for a specific set of skills. This is because they are only limited to your own imagination as an early childhood teacher.

 

The term ‘imagination’ should begin to resonate with you in relation to understanding integrating technology in the preschool classroom. The reason why this is so important is that successful technology integration is about imagining the potential of the technology for learning within the context of what will be taught.

 

Creative learning activities for preschoolers with ICT should therefore be at the top of your capabilities if your aim is to support children’s ICT capabilities in the context of art and because art and technology can be combined with other key learning areas it should make sense to develop an integrated early learning curriculum that allows for this to occur.

 

Creative learning and play in early childhood education allow children to express their own feelings and experiences in a personal and abstract way. Check out these examples of preschool creative activities that will enable you to have the most important skill for this aspect of creative technology in preschool activities – Techno-fearlessness!

 

 

 

  • Learn about mixing colours – after children have fun mixing colours assist them in trying to recreate the same effect while using a drawing and painting program. Discuss the changes and differences. You might need to create a new colour palette in the program to help this to occur.

 

  • Copy a masterpiece – print out a masterpiece that you think would be okay for them to try and replicate. Using a drawing and painting program or app assist them in using the tools and techniques that they would use to recreate their own version of the masterpiece painting. When finished, compare the two paintings with the children by displaying them on the IWB.

 

  • My own portrait – Take a portrait photo of the children and print it out to place it beside them at the computer. Introduce them to a graphics program and its tools and techniques that will allow them to recreate their own portrait. When completed stick their photo image on the screen and compare it to their own attempts in the program.

 

  • Primary colours – using a graphics program, assist the children in using tools and techniques to create a picture of a house using only primary colours. This can be after they do one using traditional paint and paper of hand prints with the same colours.

 

  • Rainbow making - use a graphics program or app to make a rainbow. Encourage the use of textures and/or different tools.

 

  • Bee Bot abstract drawing - attach a number of coloured markers to a Bee Bot and encourage the children to take turns to give it instructions to make an abstract drawing on cardboard or paper.

 

  • Photo collages - upload photos onto a drawing and painting program to make into a collage. Add a litercy and language context to this activity by demonstrating how to add speech bubbles to the photos.

 

  • Digital storymaking - use apps such as 'Draw and Tell' by Duck Duck Moose to help children recreate one of their favourite stories digitally. They can add their voices to it, use text and draw and add photos to make it as interactive as possible.

 

If you would like more great ideas like these preschool creative activities with ICT, visit our Technology in Early Childhood Education resources page here.

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Become a member of the Academy now.

 

 

 

The Best ICT Tools to Use in the Classroom

 

What is the first thing that you need to know as a teacher?

While you will learn of many ICT tools used in classroom teaching from this article it is important to remember that given the rate of technological development in society that this list no doubt will continue to grow.

 

One of the first things that I always tell people involved in my technology integration professional development online workshops is that as a teacher and in any case as a person, we will never know all there is to know about ICT.

 

Always walk into the classroom as a learner alongside the students and you will begin to feel more comfortable and confident.

 

The other thing is that successful technology integration as you will find out is NOT about waiting for the next big technological development to come around to solve your problems. It is, however, about imagining the potential for learning of the available technology within the context of what is being taught.

 

Don’t be fooled by the list of ICT tools for teaching and learning that you might see here and think that you need to have everything.

 

Start with what you have available in your own classroom and choose one ICT tool to focus on that both you and your students are familiar with.

How to use ICT tools in the Classroom

To unlock the potential of technologies to use in the classroom, you need to:

  • Establish a starting point each students' ICT learning and embed formative assessment strategies in key learning areas such as literacy and numeracy.
  • Plan for progression in ICT learning progression in the Learning Continuum of the Australian Curriculum.
  • Employ digital pedagogical practices in early childhood education that support ICT learning alongside subject learning.

 

 

ICT tools in education

Meaningful ICT Integration in Early Years Learning

Click the images of these preschool creative activities to download your copy of the early years ICT activities for your early childhood learning environment.

Each preschool lesson plan comes with:

  • Early learning goals
  • Extension activities
  • List of ICT early years resources

 

 

Early years ICT activities ICT tools for early childhood education

Dancing Bee Bot

Early years ICT activities

Programmable toys – the use of programmable toys such as bee bots in the early childhood learning environment is based upon the constructionist teaching approach. By learning how to input instructions into the keypad of a bee bot they will have experiences of making things happen.

Comparing digital to traditional artwork

Early years ICT activities

Drawing and painting programs – a number of drawing and painting programs are available for use in the early years learning setting and this includes apps as well. You can use these to manipulate digital photographs

Keyboarding and writing our name

ICT early years resources

Word processors – this ICT tool for early childhood teachers can be very useful in many ways as they now combine other tools to allow for drawing. Word processors can be used for language development and other contexts.

Role-play recording

ICT tools for early childhood education

Digital cameras (web cams, stand-alone & cameras on mobile technologies) – images can tell a thousand words! You can integrate them into many early childhood learning activities either intentionally or during play.

Role-play a vet surgery

ICT tools in education

Defunct digital technologies – make sure that they are not outdated, familiar and relevant to the lives of young children. Cut any cords off if they are keyboards. This can include mobile phones, laptops, keyboards, monitors etc.

Making technology in lives

Early years ICT activities

Hand-made crafted technologies – sometimes the best ICT early years resources to have are the ones that children make themselves. These are great because the children place a lot more value on them as a result of making them.

Number sequence activity

ICT tools in education

Spreadsheets – they have excellent teaching and learning qualities for young children to learn about numbers, sequences and patterns.

Digital storytelling activity

ICT resources for teaching and learning

 

Sound recorders, music and listening ICT tools – music, sound and technology go hand in hand. There is so many devices that allow you to achieve this such as freeware like Audacity which records voices or even apps like ‘Draw and Tell’ that allows children to tell the story with their own voices. Digital musical devices are awesome fun for children.

Find the missing letter

ICT tools in education

Interactive whiteboards and smartboards - promote writing skills on a large scale. However, these are mostly used in collaboration with the ones I discussed earlier.

Talking friends report

ICT tools for early childhood education

Talking tins - like walkie-talkies these are great for those children who have trouble communicating in groups and are awesome for language development.

 

 

ICT resources for teaching and learning

 

The integration of ICT tools in education must begin in the foundations of learning and that is why learning about ICT tools for early childhood education is significant. Most recently, the term ‘digital play’ has been discussed more widely than the other as play-based learning is the main form of pedagogical practice.

 

Meaningful technology integration in early childhood education is about embedding the use of ICT tools into creative activities, experimental activities and purposeful activities.

 

For example, drawing and painting programs are an excellent way to give young children the opportunity to express their feelings and ideas about themselves. It is just like with traditional painting methods that they also do except that there are many more tools to choose from.

 

A crucial part of your selection of ICT tools for early childhood education is allowing for the transfer of ICT capabilities across the curriculum. This can only be achieved if young children are taught ICT concepts that can utilised in meaningful contexts.

 

 

3 Questions to ask when choosing ICT tools

Finally, when selecting early years ICT activities that involve ICT tools in education, it is important to ask these 3 questions:

  1. What has the child gained in terms of knowledge, skills and understanding?
  2. Have the early years ICT activities helped the child achieve something they might not have done in any other way through the use of the iCT tool?
  3. Will the ICT early years resources motivate the child to learn and have fun while learning?

Plus one extra question.....

Have you been a responsive educator and valued the skills, knowledge and understanding of the child in relation to ICT?

 

 

 

3 Easy Ways to Boost Creativity with ICT in Preschool

Creativity has its own place in the early childhood curriculum as it is about discovering the new and making new connections. In a previous article, I discussed how the use of Information and Communication Technology in preschool activities can affect children’s creativity. Promoting creativity in early childhood education with ICT can be achieved if you plan effectively for its development.

 

In the 21st century, creativity has been found to be one of the three most sought-after and valued skills that employers will look for beyond 2020 (2018 World Economic Forum). Other surveys have indicated that 60% of CEOs believe that creativity is the most important quality that someone in leadership should have.

 

Providing children with a wide range of open-ended and meaningful uses of ICT in early childhood education is essential. However, you need to model creativity with the integration of ICT in preschool education and kindergarten learning environments as well.

 

So here are three ways that I would encourage you to boost creativity with ICT in preschool and kindy today.

 

Boost Creativity ICT in Preschool and Kindy by choosing the right software

Not everyone is for the use of ICT in early childhood education and often believe that technology is a distraction. Technology can be a distraction but only if the wrong technology is chosen.

 

Integrating technology in the preschool classroom, for example, should never be as a add on to the curriculum and should be about developing ICT capability in early childhood learning activities which include digital play. If you stick to this philosophy, then you will be able to understand that having the wrong distraction in the room can be avoided if you choose your use of technology in preschool activities in the following ways.

 

First, the children should always have full control over the software itself. Secondly, it should also be content-free and generic which makes them it possible for children to transfer their capabilities in ICT in preschool activities or kindy throughout other context. Finally, ensure that it does challenge children intellectually and promotes higher order thinking skills

 

As a teacher myself, I know how distractions cannot be good for teaching. However, you would be surprised to know that distractions can be good for creating a rich mix of creative thoughts in children.

 

 

Boost your own level of ICT capability

Building on your own levels of capabilities in ICT in preschool or kindy is not just about acquiring technical skills. Let’s face it…you are never going to know everything. It is important to note that it is through learning the best pedagogical approaches to technology integration such as that learned in our free online professional development for early childhood educators is the start for you.

 

As a teacher using ICT in preschool or kindergarten your capabilities in ICT is about knowing how to use them correctly for the right situation.

 

So how can this boost creativity in early childhood education?

 

Research has proven that if teachers feel comfortable with their confidence and competence in ICT they tend to allow young children to explore the creative uses of ICT in preschool activities or kindy.

 

Additionally, children are naturally curious and creative so by giving them the freedom to explore you will be promoting creativity in early childhood education once you have provided them with the right software and tools to do so.

 

Blur the lines between learning and playing with ICT in preschool

Following on from my last tip, softening the lines between learning and playing will help boost creativity with technology in preschool activities. Once children understand that they can have fun while learning they’ll be more open to new ways of thinking and creating.

 

Furthermore, digital role playing can help to achieve this as it is often termed ‘learning without failure’. If you plan challenging and stimulating role play that builds on what they already know and can do then they will begin to explore creative ideas for the use of ICT in their lives and understand it to be a tool that is designed for specific purpose and the many uses of it in their lives too.

 

In conclusion, you need to use ICT in preschool and kindy to promote creativity in early childhood education. This needs to occur individually and in groups. If you give them a secure environment with effective and sensitive adult support in which they can take risks and make mistakes without fear of failing then their creative ideas will flow. So right ensure that you find the right balance today.

 

 

How does technology affect children's creativity?

 

When it comes to fostering imagination and creativity digital technology in early childhood education can play a crucial role in achieving this. In a digital world, digital technology has the potential to open up new avenues for young children to explore, learn and express themselves.

This video will help you understand ‘how does technology affect children’s creativity’.

 

Benefits of technology for supporting imagination and creativity

In a recent video, I highlighted the impact of technology in early childhood education. While there are concerns it is important to recognise that technology can provide valuable opportunities for fostering creativity and imagination.

 

Throughout this ECE online workshop, you will find preschool creative activities that provide opportunities for young children to learn with and through digital technologies such as interactive learning, robotics, music creation, digital storytelling and art.

 

Not to mention video editing possibilities!

 

Other benefits can stem from computer adventure games that require young children to problem solve, generate their own ideas and even engage with others online in creative ways. Research has shown that these types of activities encourage learners to design and create things.

 

For young children, these digital devices are merely a feature of their native environment and so as many of them start to converge, so the flexibility of their application continues to grow.

 

Promoting creativity in early childhood education can support improved creativity and imagination!

 

 

4 Ways that Technology affects children's creativity

Here are 4  ways in which technology can affect children’s creativity.

 

Technology eradicates barriers to creative expression

Technology has transformed human experience. Today, we are no longer separated by time and space, but in some way working off the same massive database. Information has become accessible and this also includes personal contact. Social media and video conferencing is an example of this. Technology and automation have streamlined the process of collaboration and this has propelled creative expression with technology.

 

Mixing and remixing

This is a difference between information and knowledge. Knowledge is personal while information is a storable, fungible entity. Today, combining ideas no longer takes any particular skill as the process has become so automated that it ceases to be associated with personal expressions.

 

Simulates failure

In some way, most creative acts are failures. In the digital world, young children can simulate failure and not only learn from this but can correct any mistakes easily. Technology enhances creativity by drastically reducing the cost of actualising our intent. People can search domains, mix and match ideas and test concepts almost effortlessly. And this means that even young children can try out a lot more possibilities and increase their chances of producing something truly outstanding.

 

Rise of the creative class

Creativity is becoming an intrinsic part of working life as well as school life because education also reflects changes in society. As we are becoming a more technological society, we are also becoming a more creative society due to the fact that many tasks have been automated.

Furthermore, technology increases our potential to engage in the types of experiences that lead to great creativity.

 

 

NURTURING CREATIVITY IN EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION is a 3+ hour online workshop for preschool teachers. Access it now for just $20 per month (cancel anytime).