Safety and Ethical Concerns with Technology in Early Childhood Education
The use of technology in early childhood education has prompted many concerns amongst parents, early childhood teachers and child advocates.
While there are many benefits of technology in early childhood education, the health and safety of children in childcare and education is of utmost importance.
The bases of these concerns is that of the impact of technology in early childhood education in relation to cognitive, social, emotional and developmental needs.
Regardless of the fact that these risks don’t have any clear evidence to support them, we are of the firm belief as with other authors, it is significant that you are aware of them and the need to safeguard children in childcare and education.
However, the fact that you are reading this means that you have already taken this step.
Let’s continue to have a closer look at what they are….
The negative effects of technology in education in relation to social development
This also has to do with cognitive and emotional development.
Is it true? No!
These concerns are mainly to do with children playing games on the computers.
It is your responsibility as the early childhood teacher to appraise critically computer games that children use.
Technology in early childhood education can provide an immersive experience of learning for children.
Not all games contain violence and they can provide benefits such as:
- The development of reasoning and problem solving abilities.
- Skills in making inferences.
- Dealing with multiple sets of layers of information.
So there are ethical concerns to do with the negative effects of technology in early childhood education.
Another issue which has been brought up in literature is that of the cognitive development of children with technology in early childhood education.
These 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.
However, 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.
Additionally, by intervening sensitively and being knowledgeable about it, you can help children to learn about ICT and through ICT in ways that are appropriate and meaningful.
In this sort of context, social-interactions such as working cooperatively and collaboratively offer an important learning mechanism. With ICT, this could involve a child teaching another child how a piece of technology works, resulting in learning for both children.
Thus the benefits of technology in early childhood education is present in this instance.
The 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.
As with cognitive development, with social development there are also grave concerns about the risks that are involved.
You need to understand as an early childhood teacher that these stem from children playing computer games a long time by themselves.
However, this doesn't just happen at preschool but also at home. And as in this case, it is the responsibility of parents as well as early childhood teachers to minimise these risks by critically appraise computer games to determine if they are appropriate.
What about 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.
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, when and for how long.
Everyone has a role to play in empowering children to be safe while using ICT in their lives.
Displacement of other Activities
Computers and ICT can play an important role in young children’s education alongside other activities. However, they should never displace them. For example, the use of ICT should not be at the expense of other activities regardless of whether it is inside or outside. Unfortunately, this is what happens when “computer use” is seen in terms of ‘drill and practice’ programs.
|Other issues in relation to Technology and Early Childhood Education|
WHAT IS THE BEST ANSWER TO THESE CONCERNS?
Many of your colleagues in Preschool and Kindergarten have answered this question for you in past studies.
It is the attentive, thorough and knowledgeable integration of technology across the early childhood education curriculum.
This is particular so any concerns about social development.
If technology usage is planned and integrated into other activities in a productive way it presents new opportunities for all forms of social interaction.
The best way to develop ICT capability in any curriculum is by embedding ICT into purposeful and meaningful contexts and this goes for Early Childhood too.
“….regardless of the creative potential of any software used, the key to developing creative and rewarding learning experiences for children rests on the ability of practitioners to integrate computer-related activities into, and across, the curriculum. That is, computer use should not be seen as a stand-alone activity, but should be integrated into other planned and spontaneous learning and play activities within the early childhood education classroom.”
Davis and Shade (1994)
As an Early Childhood teacher, you need think about how ICT can enrich the early childhood education learning environment?
ICT in Early Childhood Education
Accredited ICT Online Course for Early Childhood teachers
- Understand the role of ICT in Early Childhood Education.
- Maximise formative assessment strategies in ICT activities, tasks and projects.
- Select developmentally appropriate ICT tools.
- Employ evidence based ICT teaching strategies to develop ICT capability in Early Childhood.
- Promote literacy, language and numeracy development with ICT.
- Encourage creative uses of ICT.
- Facilitate the progression of ICT capability in Early Childhood.
- Integrate ICT effectively in STEM activities.
- Be knowledgeable about safety concerns when using ICT.
- Reflect on your teaching and learning with ICT.
- Boost your confidence and competence in ICT integration.
- Implement a universal framework for inclusion with technology.
Teachers making an impact on learning today
Discover the impact of technology in Early Childhood Education through our jam packed modules!
Section 1: An Analyses of ICT in Early Childhood
In this module, I begin the course by taking you through an examination and reasons why the effective development of ICT capability in Early Childhood is needed. Then I get you to take a look at where you are in terms of your own professional learning by using teacher standards recognised in Australia and asking you to partake in a self-assessment of your own capabilities in ICT.
There are 12 areas covered in this module which include:
- Course Introduction.
- Determining your professional learning needs.
- Professional development in ICT in ECE.
- How children learn with ICT in Early Childhood.
- Key issues in ICT in Early childhood – what are some disadvantages of technology in early childhood education.
- Unlocking barriers to integration of ICT in Early childhood.
- What is ICT capability?
- Conducting a self-analysis/assessment.
Section 2: Formative Assessment strategies in ICT
I chose to put this module about formative assessment first because of its connections to forward planning. Gathering the information you need to effectively plan for a child’s development in literacy, language or numeracy is vital and it is no different in relation to ICT capability. We all live in an ICT-integrated world, even children do as well, so learning about their home uses of ICT and developing a plan from there will help you.
There are 15 areas covered in this module which include:
- Module introduction.
- Planning for use of ICT in ECE – learn about technology for early childhood education. Receive a benefits of technology in early childhood education pdf.
- Monitoring and Observing ICT use with young children.
- Assessment for learning.
- Sharing Perspectives and Effective transition writing.
- Enabling the environment for AfL.
- Involving parents and carers.
- Providing feedback.
- Designing effective discussions, tasks and activities.
- Module Reflection
- Access to module ebook
- Extra video content from myself.
Section 3: Employing evidence based ICT teaching strategies
These strategies are not my own but come from the most ICT capable classrooms around. Some may seem more suitable for older children, however, the importance of this it that if young children are to progress in their capabilities throughout their schooling career, then we ALL need to share the same perspective about ICT capability. You will find that many of them can be easily adapted to learning needs of young children.
There are areas covered in this module which include:
- Module introduction.
- Using assessment to develop teaching strategies.
- What is the ideal outcome?
- Facilitating capabilities in ICT.
- Providing effective support.
- How to stimulate and structure learning.
- Developing autonomy.
- Supporting digital play.
- Building on home use of ICT.
- Other strategies.
- Plan of Action.
- Module reflection.
- Video content from myself.
Section 4: Embedding ICT in STEM activities in the Early Years
STEM is fast becoming a core subject throughout all sectors of education including Early Childhood. So I have put together the best practices for you to make the most out of effectively integrating ICT to support the learning of science, maths and engineering. Science and technology in early childhood education complement each other and you will be able to determine the role of technology.
There are 9 areas covered in this module which include:
- Module introduction.
- Technology teaching strategies in STEM.
- Inquiry based learning.
- ICT-assisted Project based Learning.
- Reflecting on your technology experience.
- ICT’s role in STEM.
- Plan of Action.
- Module Reflection.
Section 5: Practicing Inclusion with ICT in Early Childhood
ICT is a great enabler of inclusion as it provides a level playing field so to speak for every child to learn from the curriculum. This includes SEN children, gifted children and Dual Language Learners. Learn about some examples of assistive technology in early childhood education.
There are 5 areas covered in this module which include:
- Key issues to consider.
- Managing the inclusive environment.
- Implementing a Universal Design for Learning for Early Childhood.
- What is E-inclusion?
- Developing an inclusive practice.
Section 6: Using ICT in Literacy, Language and Numeracy
The development of a child in these areas is of utmost importance in Early Childhood. ICT if used effectively can greatly enhance their learning given the proper support and scaffolding.
There are 4 areas covered in this module which include:
- Literacy and Language learning with ICT.
- Numeracy, Problem solving and ICT.
- Video content from me.
- Module Reflection.
Section 7: Educational ICT Tools for P-2 Learning Environments.
In this module I have included what some of the best ICT tools are available in early childhood from P-2. This includes creativity, language and other appropriate ICT resources. Throughout it we provide you with examples of technology in early childhood education.
This module covers areas which include:
- ICT tools for creativity.
- ICT tools for language development.
- Appropriate ICT tools for other activities.
- What does meaningful ICT resources mean?
Section 8: Protecting the Digital Child
The health and safety of young children’s use of ICT in the learning environment should always be practiced. In this module, you will important information to do with e-safety and what you can do as an early childhood teacher to ensure the children and parents are educated about using ICT in their lives. We look at some negative effects of technology in early childhood education and how you can overcome them.
Continual Professional Learning
Once you have completed the course, you can read our free technology in early childhood education articles to further your learning.
The role of technology in early childhood education is very important. Studies indicate that when using ICT, teachers need to be aware of their role in guiding the children.
There are many benefits of technology in early childhood education.
Technology in Early Childhood Education PDFs
Technology in Early Childhood Education - Let us help you find the balance
Teacher Accredited Course
Completing this course will contribute to 5 hours of PD addressing 2.6.2, 4.5.2 and 5.1.2 of Australian Professional Standards for Teachers towards maintaining Proficient teacher Accreditation in ACT, NSW, Vic and Qld.