How you can use Tech in Science Inquiry based learning in ECE today?

By Michael Hilkemeijer

 

If ICT is to make an impact on student science learning, then you as a teacher need to scaffold science ICT activities so that students can participate in the inquiry process.

So what is inquiry based learning in early childhood and how does it help young children? Well, it emphasises the role of the child in learning and engages them in the process in an active way. It helps children make meaning of what they are learning about and provides them with authentic learning experiences such as what they experience in the real world.

 

Applying Technology to the Learning Experience

As a teacher, you want to provide your children with the most authentic learning experience and by applying technology to inquiry based learning in early childhood education, like for example in the science inquiry process, you can achieve this. That is what education in the digital age is all about.

For this to occur, there has to be an adjustment in your mindset and shift away from looking at technology as a means to an end and towards technology as a medium for all kinds of learning. 

When technology is meaningfully integrated into the science inquiry-based lesson, the students benefit from the positive transformative effects of it such as:

  • Shifting the emphasis from content to skills;
  • Allowing constant engagement;
  • Democratising learning;
  • Connecting to the world and;
  • Simplifying the back-end work.

(Pahomov, 2014, pp. 15-20)

 

Therefore, it is recommended that the early learning years framework that you use needs to include these five core values:

  • Inquiry;
  • Research;
  • Collaboration;
  • Presentation and;
  • Reflection.

 

Here is how technology is involved. 

In each of these five steps, there are key characteristics such as choice, personalisation, relevance, and empowerment in the inquiry. There is a strong digital connection to each of these. 

Take for example choice, students are swamped for choice not only for the range of technologies available to them but for the choice of information, communication, and features that technology brings. 

Technology can really transform students’ work in the early learning environment making it very personalized. Early Childhood teachers can assist children in looking up information on the Internet related to the child’s interest which directly links it back to child development. 

 

The use of technology or ICT in inquiry based learning in early childhood plays a significant role in a young child's learning. It is essential that you practice the strategies to ensure that is potential is realised by yourself and the impact on child learning great.

 

 

What is IBL?

To put it simply, inquiry based learning in the classroom is about providing authentic learning experiences for children so that they can learn something new.

Through authentic learning, you will be able to trigger inquiries by the children as they seek to find the answers that interest them. For this to occur, you will need to model the inquiry process for them and generate enthusiasm so that they can also generate enthusiasm for learning something new.

To learn more about inquiry based learning, click here.

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