By Michael Hilkemeijer
As a former teacher, I know about time constraints for preparation especially when it comes to integrating technology in the classroom. Below, I have put together a number of ICT activities for preschoolers and primary students that will save you time. You can either use these as your own or adapt them to suit your needs. Check them out and subscribe to join my Free online professional development for early childhood educators and get your copy of these ICT activities for preschoolers now.
ICT Activities for Early Childhood Education
Language and Communication Activities for Preschoolers
Click images to download the language development activities now!
There are a number of digital cameras that you can use that are freely available which include stand-alone, cameras on smartphones and tablet computers such as iPads.
Here are some ideas that you can apply in your early learning environment today.
- Use the cameras to take photographs of the children’s creative play.
- Support children in their own of digital photography and encourage reflection on their ICT learning experiences and the photos taken.
- Take still digital images of the children’s favourite toys and the practice stop motion by moving them around and taking more photos. Put them all together in PowerPoint to create an animation.
- Use cameras on smartphones or tablet computers to look more closely at natural objects and use the photographs once uploaded as a stimulus for art and creative work.
You can show young children how to use a video camera either as a stand-alone or using the ones featured on smartphones or tablet computers.
They will enjoy exploring their own playful uses of the camera and you need to give them time for this and not attempt to structure their uses too soon or too often.
When they are given plenty of opportunities to explore and play with them they should be able to be at the point that they are ready for a planned use of the camera.
Here are some ICT activities that you can use.
- Observe children’s playful use and build on these. Make use of the children’s recording of each other.
- Video children’s play as characters from story books or act well-loved tales.
Another form of digital camera is the webcam!
Add on a USB extension and you can move it around anywhere. They usually have a button on them for taking still images or the children can use the webcam software to take photos or video.
Here are some ways that you can use the webcam.
- Encourage children to record the process of an activity as they progress.
- What would happen if you just let the webcam on and let the children be stimulated by seeing themselves in camera.
- Young children love to sing. Record them singing in a group.
- Work with a colleague in your learning setting to share favourite rhymes.
Images, patterns, shapes and colours are key features of children’s early learning. Drawing and painting programs often have tools such as rainbow colours and children can mix media, combining digital and traditional media.
Such programs give children’s mark making a certain kind of equality and so they can be particularly useful for children with individual needs or with lack of confidence in their own mark making.
It will be important for you to have strategies to support the children in their discovery of how software works, as well to assist with problem-solving. So being confident and competent users of graphics software is important in order to facilitate children’s learning.
Here are some ideas to use graphics programs creatively in your early learning environment today.
- Model uses of the software yourselves.
- Model the use of the graphics program, teaching children how to use each of the tools according to their own levels of competence and interest.
- Stimulate children’s interest by starting a blank page. Paint and save an outline of a spaceship, shop or night sky. The children can then paint over the top of these using the tools available and clip art to fill with objects.
- You can also take a photo with a digital camera or even copy a photo from Google Image search and get the children to paint over this.
- Another idea is to crop half an image to remove it and then ask the children to fill in the blank half.
- Clown faces are a good idea for children to use and you can find ones that can be coloured in in the software.
- What about printing of a painting and then adding it to the creative area for the children to continue with themselves by using traditional tools.
Here are some great ideas to use programmable toys such as bee bots and blue bots in your learning environment today.
You could tape white chalk to the back of a pixie and draw on a black piece of paper using the toy.
Or what about taping pens or using a pixie scribble pack to draw with the pixie.
In my with Dr Kate Highfield she highlighted many other ways for you to use robotics in early childhood education.
Smartboards are appropriate for young children because they operate through finger touch. What this does is make drawing, rubbing out and moving objects on the board a very sensory experience. The large screen also allows for collaboration in early childhood education when children can collaborate with each other.
Here are some ideas that you can apply in your learning environment today.
- Earlier I discussed the use of graphic software and with smartboards this can be enhanced. As children make marks, show them what the range of tools can do. You can model using the tools and then stand back and monitor their capabilities in ICT.
- You can also model using the board to make designs. Designs for a playground model or a pattern for wrapping paper might be an idea.
- Scaffold children’s uses of the Gallery clip art to retell traditional stories or you could even piece together a nursery rhyme.
Role play toys
Digital role play is about learning without failure and there are many ways in which you can support the children’s use digital technology in your early learning environment.
Here are some ways in which you can support digital role play today.
- You can be creative in your provision of everyday digital technology. What about adding defunct mobile phone to pockets in children’s dressing up clothes.
- Another idea would be to add a computer with some sort of role-play software. For example, add ‘At the Doctor’s’.
- How about using a computer to print out prescriptions, or stock taking charts for the children to fill in? You can even print out signs and notices.
When integrating ICT in early childhood education you must always ensure that the children view technology such as computers as tools for their learning. Use content-free and generic software that will support the development of ICT capability and challenge children intellectually.
Only use subject-specific software if your focus is to support literacy or numeracy for example.
Maintain a balance between these two types of software.
Here are some ways in which you can integrate computers into your learning environment today.
- You can demonstrate using a computer how to make signs, lists, labels, envelopes etc.
- Develop children’s creative thinking by responding to their technology interests with them through Internet searches.
- Use peripherals such as a webcam, microphone etc to make the most of the computer’s creative opportunities.
- Model your own creative uses of a computer, and children will quickly join in.
- Add photos of the children at to the screensaver.
- Use all of the above ideas for ICT activities for preschool.
- Add speech bubbles to photographs of children at play and support them in putting in what they want to say.
12 Awesome ICT Tools that Will Empower Young Children
There are many ICT tools in early childhood that can be implemented successfully in a learning environment. Learning environments in early childhood can now be indoor and outdoor, so these tools can have quite an extensive range. The use of ICT tools in education can benefit young children in many ways.
However, it is important to remember that there are many meaningful ICT resources out there.
With ICT being developed at such a fast rate these days it is imperative that you choose the right tools for the job at hand. That is, that each one is developmentally appropriate.
So what does a developmentally appropriate digital classroom look like?
Developmentally appropriate classrooms are intentional and well-planned learning environments where technology is integrated into child-initiated play. Despite concerns that ICT may displace other activities or opportunities, it should never achieve this and it is your responsibility to ensure that it doesn’t. A balance is required as Simon and Nemeth (2012, p. 32) point out below.
- Be intentional with your technology practices.
- Infuse technology and digital devices into many interest areas in the classroom and offer them as choices with clear objectives.
- Use digital tools as options when they make experiences more meaningful or efficient or add value to learning.
- Use software or apps that help meet curriculum learning objectives, meet program and state standards, and lead to deeper learning experiences.
- Select an array of devices, software, and apps that encourage creativity and offer multiple divergent learning paths.
- Within developmental abilities, balance teacher-facilitated technology activities with child-initiated technology activities.
- Balance within developmentally abilities child-initiated activities with those that involve small and large groups and collaborative.
- Extend the learning children initiate during choice time by offering the technology as an option to enhance their experiences.
- Develop systems in your classroom to track children’s use of technology to ensure they are spending appropriate amounts of time engaging in a range of choices.
- Develop systems to assess children’s learning when they engage with technology. Are they meeting appropriate and expected outcomes?
Creativity with ICT
Creativity in early childhood education has its own little cool area for several reasons. These are:
- Creativity is about discovering new or making new connections.
- It is about critical thinking.
- We need to provide ICT in ways to support our pedagogy and improve our understanding of the nature of young children’s developing creativity.
The only way to achieve this……is with open-ended, content-free, and meaningful ICT experiences with heaps of opportunities to explore and interact with others.
Other than that, we as teachers need to model using ICT creatively to cultivate an environment where creativity is empowered by vital 21st century skills.
ICT Tools for Creativity
Creative thinking is a very important part of a young child’s life. Children can use ICT as a creative medium beyond just using the obvious painting and drawing programs.
To help children develop their creativity, you should encourage them to:
- Look playfully for alternative ways of doing things.
- See there is always a choice.
- Make connections between things.
- Make unusual comparisons.
- See things from the points of others.
(Siraj-Blatchford & Siraj-Blatchford, 2006, p. 36)
It is important that you are proactive in your interactions with young children by asking them “what if…?” questions. However, you are here to learn about these educational tools for early childhood education, so I have provided you with a list and some teacher-tested ideas that I have found. So what are ICT tools used in classroom teaching in preschool, kindergarten, or early year primary education?
The ICT tools that follow enable you to develop ICT capability as they are content-free and generic. The use of ICT in preschool can build on a child's home experiences of ICT by preschool teachers making instructional decisions that promote the development of ICT capability in preschool.
Creative ICT Work for Early Childhood Teachers
Modelling your own creativity with ICT in front of children is important as it not only demonstrates to them what do with ICT but significantly helps them to copy your higher order thinking skills. This, of course, forms the foundation for their own ICT capability.
As an expert in observation, it is vital that you document children’s learning with ICT using your observation templates to record the ongoing achievements in the early childhood learning environment. These records are the basis for planned work.
The sharing and documenting of children’s learning with parents and other teacher has many benefits that include:
- Making learning visible for everyone;
- Encouragement of shared meanings and experiences and;
- Building on children’s sense of identity and their relationships.
Many ICT tools that you can use to model use is the same as what children use to. To see a list of this, keep reading to learn what they are.
Supporting Child Learning and Development with ICT
For children to develop creativity with ICT they need the following:
- Time to be creative, to express themselves and to develop their creative skills.
- Freedom to be creative when they want to be.
- Support in developing their creativity and skills.
- Choices of a range of creative media.
- Inspiration, a starting point to get them going.
(Price, 2009, p. 43)
By programming a toy to behave a certain way, children are able to view various problems from a toy’s perspective. However, a key benefit of using technology such as this is that it has functional transparency and this supports children to quickly learn how to program them.
Examples include Beebots, Roamer and Pixies.
Digital Images collected by Digital Cameras
Digital cameras can provide more focus on activities as children can take pictures of themselves and their environments. This can encourage them to take more photos of things. You may also find that each time they do take a photo of something, that they can actually provide an explanation of why they were choosing to take a particular shot. In these situations, the camera helps to clarify and consolidate the children’s learning.
Are there ICT tools for sharing digital photos?
Sharing digital images is a great way to communicate to everyone what is happening in the early childhood learning environment.
Good examples of such tools include Blurb, Snapfish, Walgreens, and Shutterfly. It is always best to see which one is right for you.
Continuing on with the theme of the digital image this program and others similar to it can provide children with a multimedia experience they will enjoy and be able to develop their creativity skills. These programs have colour, movement, and sound so it is no surprise that it is quite appealing.
It is just as appealing though for children with profound and multiple learning difficulties. PowerPoint can make learning meaningful and relevant. With the use of transition effects, it can reveal a favourite character with a single touch by using it with the Interactive Whiteboard.
These are especially appropriate for young children because they operate through finger touch. Children can make drawings, rub them out and move objects together as I mentioned earlier, resize them. It is a large screen that allows for greater collaboration. For this reason, it is important that you become familiar with all its tools.
IWBs have great potential for adults working with groups on focused tasks or in exploring adventure games and simulations. Open-ended questioning is found to be most effective in soliciting responses from children that stimulate higher order thinking in both preschool and Early Stage 1 and Stage 1 teachers in primary education.
There are key issues in its use that relate to the installation of IWBs. It is important that they are installed at the developmentally appropriate height for children to operate them independently. That is at a level that can be touched and seen easily.
There are also safety concerns to do with data projectors in use with IWBs. Remember these simple guidelines:
- Make clear to all users that no one should stare directly into the beam of the projector.
- When entering the beam, users should not look towards the audience for more than a few seconds.
- Encourage users to keep their backs to the projectors beam.
- Children should be supervised at all times when a projector is being used.
(Siraj-Blatchford & Siraj-Blatchford, 2006)
I already mentioned the potential with the use of IWBs. These programs allow children to do things they would not be able to do outside of the software. With the tools they provide they deliver ‘clean’ art that children can instantly rub out, undo or start all over again! Additionally, they can mix media combining both digital and traditional media. Importantly, they provide equal opportunities for all children being particularly useful for children with individual needs or who lack confidence in their own mark making.
Your children will enjoy exploring their own playful uses of the video camera so it is important to give them time to achieve this. Try not to structure their uses too soon or too often.
Learning with ICT in preschool can be the foundation for further development of capabilities in ICT throughout school. I encourage you to integrate ICT in early childhood using these ICT tools for teaching meaningful context-driven activities such as literacy, numeracy, and language. Download this ebook now to learn more about learning with ICT tools in early childhood education and care today.
The Role of ICT in ECE
How you can integrate ICT in preschool can be achieved in many ways and each helps to build responsive relationships in early childhood education. Furthermore, every time you plan for the integration of ICT in preschool you actively help to develop ICT capability provided that you employ the right teaching strategies and embed effective methods of observation and assessment appropriate for ICT capability monitoring.
The roles that you will see below come from a study by the New Zealand government (Bolstad, 2004) and highlight the use of ICT in preschool in a very positive manner. They suggest ideas for how you can plan to optimise ICT in preschool learning activities.
|Roles of ICT in Preschool||Examples of how to use ICT in Preschool|
|Children using ICT in their play or learning (alone, with peers, or with adults).||Children using computers to play games, listen to stories, or draw pictures.
Children using ICT equipment in games or role-play activities.
|Children and practitioners using ICT together to scaffold children’s learning.||Using the Internet to locate information or resources, sparked by children’s interest in a particular topic or idea.|
|Children and practitioners using ICT together to document and reflect on children’s learning, or to share children’s learning with parents, or other practitioners.||Taking digital photos, videos, or audio recordings of activities in the early childhood education setting and reviewing these together, or sharing them with parents.
Practitioners and children using ICT to build portfolios of children’s work, to use for evaluating progress in children’s learning and development.
|Practitioners using ICT for planning, administration, and information management.||Teachers developing individual learning plans for children, or using computer-based templates to plan or document children’s learning (e.g. using learning stories templates, or inserting relevant concepts from Te Whāriki into children’s learning records).
Creating databases to keep track of important information about children and their families.
|Teachers or teachers-in-training learning to use ICT, or learning through ICT.||Teachers-in-training learning to use ICT in their initial teacher education courses.
Distance-learning teachers-in-training using ICT to learn to become early childhood teachers.
Teachers-in-training learning to use technology with children in their practicum placements.
Teachers using ICT to document and reflect on their practice, or using ICT as part of a professional development programme.
|Children and practitioners using ICT to communicate or exchange ideas or information with other practitioners, parents, or researchers.||Using videoconferencing, online discussion communities, or email, to communicate with other practitioners, parents, or researchers, or to share news and information about what’s happening in the early childhood education centre.
Children and practitioners using telephones, email, or fax to keep in touch with parents who are not able to come to the early childhood education centre (e.g. parents who are at work during the day).
Using telephones, email, or fax to keep in touch with children and their families in distant or rural communities (e.g. Correspondence School early childhood education programme).
(Bolstad, 2004 for the NZ Gov't)
Developing ICT Capability in ECE
By using developmentally appropriate ICT tools in early childhood learning activities it is possible to develop ICT capability and technological literacy. This is a key role of using ICT tools in education not just in early childhood but in Primary education as well.
Developmentally appropriate ICT tools for teaching in early childhood should follow the guidelines set. Earlier, you learned of some great ICT tools in early childhood. Each of these needs to planned for effectively and include instructional decisions that will develop ICT capability. By doing so, you can help young children develop the notion of ICT being used as a tool for a particular purpose. Additionally, you can learn how to optimise ICT tools in early childhood education in our ICT early childhood education online PD for early childhood educators.
How to Connect Children to the World with ICT Activities?
The use of ICT in Early Childhood Education can enhance many learning and development areas. For example, through collaborative work children can further develop their language skills whether it will be home language or the English language. Having a full appreciation of using ICT with and by children is important.
I am going to discuss:
- How to structure the ICT learning activities.
- How to organise the ICT tools and resources.
- What some ideas for ICT learning activities have been in the past.
Being Connected and Contributing to the World
It is essential that when children use ICT in activities, they understand its uses in the world. In Australia, this part is directly linked to Outcome 5 of the Early Years Learning Framework which focuses on the use of ICT. Part of how this is demonstrated is when children identify the uses of ICT in everyday life along with using it in role plays.
The Early Years Foundation Stage in the UK, has similar links in Knowledge and Understanding of the world. In both curriculums, children need to find out and identify the uses of everyday ICTs.
Therefore, it is vital that you acknowledge and recognise that the teaching of ICT capability is important to enable them to have a mastery and control over the equipment, in order to facilitate their learning in ICT capability throughout the curriculum area. In each activity that uses ICT, therefore, you will need to plan for the structured development of ICT capability. Remember that this can differentiated and progressive.
You can achieve this by employing a ‘rolling program’ half way through each term.
|Week||Developmental Matters||Activities (learning opportunities/levels of differentiation)||Play Opportunities||Resources|
|1||Know how to operate simple equipment||
3 Questions to ask yourself when using ICT learning activities.
When selecting learning activities that encompass the use of ICT, you need to determine the answers to these three questions:
- What has the child gained in terms of knowledge, skills or understanding?
- Have the learning activities helped the child achieve something they might not have done in any other way through the use of ICT?
- Will the equipment motivate the child to learn and have fun while learning?
Organising the Classroom
Did you know that way you organise ICT in a learning environment can have impact on a child’s ICT capability? In an integrated approach, if ICT is located directly in the class, it is easier to integrate it directly into various activities across the curriculum.
What kinds of ICT activities for early childhood can you do?
When it comes to ICT in early childhood, creative work by children take on a whole new level. ICT is a creative medium, but you can go beyond just using paint or draw software. So while for some drawing may be the most creative use of ICT, there are other things that you can do.
For example, you can help children make fantastic multimedia presentations using programs such as PowerPoint. This is a great idea for projects!
What about Lego robotics to teach them about the basics of educational robotics? ICT devices can also improve the sound quality of many recordings not just music, but also children’s own voices. Boost your own competence in Information Literacy skills to help children use the Internet to search for pictures and other information for a project or story they may be doing.
Mobile learning is fast becoming popular in many centres. Why not use tablet computers such as iPads to take photos? Children can do this for themselves. While we are on the topic of using iPads, don’t forget that they can also record videos too!
Don’t have iPads? There are other alternatives such as mobile phones. Source unused ones from the community and make sure they are all able to take photos and also video still.
You can organise activities where the children create animations using software even like PowerPoint or StopMotion programs.
Learn more about optimising ICT tools in early childhood here.
ICT Activities and eBooks for Early Years (Preschoolers, Kindergarten, Early Primary teaching)
- Foundation Literacy with ICT activities and lesson plan templates aligned with the Australian Curriculum
- Literacy and Numeracy ICT activities for Preschool and Kindergarten
- Over 10 early childhood teacher ebooks
- And lots more!
5 Ways to Integrate Technology in Preschool
The use of technology in early childhood education is very important for several reasons today. The top of these includes helping young children view ICT as tools designed for specific purposes and to enhance learning. Attached such attributes are the benefits of many, however, for these to all be unlocked you must use evidence-based teaching strategies to ensure that children benefit from their digital experiences. Here are five ways on how to use technology in preschool classrooms today.
Integrating ICT in preschool can be achieved in the following ways:
Develop Technological Literacy and ICT Capability
I have listed this one first as I believe it is the most important. ICT capability can be developed in the most meaningful context-driven activities in the early year curriculum. Seek and plan to develop each component of it and ensure that the correct software is used such as those that are content-free and that challenge children intellectually.
In early childhood education, creative development is in its own area of learning within the EYLF. Using technology in preschool education provides an opportunity for young children to be creative. So you need to encourage them to use drawing and painting programs and apps and model the use of software yourself.
Promote digital play
Good quality role play gives young children the opportunity to make sense of their digital world in which we live in. Allow them to help you set up the role-play area of your learning environment and place quality and appropriate ICT resources there for them to use such as real tech that works, the real tech that doesn’t work, the tech that they made themselves, and toy technology that simulate the working of real technologies.
Use ICT to search for things of interest
Preschool technology in early childhood education can be used by both teachers and children to search the World Wide Web for interesting things on the Internet. You can guide them through the right practices to use keywords to search for what they are looking for so as to develop their technological literacy along the way.
Teach Literacy and Numeracy
Using technology appropriate in the preschool classroom also involves software such as word processors and spreadsheets to teach literacy and numeracy. This type of technology in preschool also develops a child’s ICT capability. Of course, you can use subject-specific software, however, this will entirely depend on your own learning goals. You may just wish to teach literacy, but remember the value of ICT in enhancing literacy learning and the opportunities that can be missed in a digital world.
Learn to apply high impact teaching strategies to effectively integrate technology in preschool today.
7 Ways to Use Technology in Preschool
If the top 5 ways weren't enough, here are another 7 ways for you to integrate technology in preschool today.
- You can allow young children to freely explore touch screens that have developmentally appropriate interactive media.
- Provide opportunities for young children to explore and feel comfortable using the mouse and keyboard.
- Another option for you to use technology in preschool is to use capture photos of block buildings or artwork that the young children have created.
- Always make sure that you celebrate their accomplishments using digital technology in early childhood education.
- Don't forget about using assistive technology in preschool classrooms.
- Use your smartphone or tablet computer to record children's stories about their drawings or play.
- Finally, when planning to use technology in preschool learning activities you can explore digital storytelling with children. Imagine the potential of technology in early childhood to co-create digital books with them.
Learn more about integrating technology in the preschool classroom today.
7 Ideas for Integrating Technology in Preschool Appropriately
Integrating preschool technology activities is more than just exposing young children to the technology available. Technology activity for pre-schoolers should involve adult helpers and early childhood teachers facilitating the development of ICT capability and more broadly, technological literacy.
However, with so many technology activities for kids that it is hard at times to determine what is developmentally appropriate technology. You should consider:
- If the technology allows for the child to be in control – if the computer or technology is in control, then the children will be restricted to a restricted response. Minimal capability in ICT on the behalf of the child will be achieved. Only when the child has full control will they develop ICT capability.
- Integration and play through ICT – can you fully integrate the technology?
- Encourage collaboration – how is the technology provided?
These are just some of the things to consider when planning preschool technology activities.
Here are some fun ideas for preschool technology activities.
Making a stop motion – I have developed many stop motion animation project work for my students and there is ample room to enhance technological literacy and to develop a child’s ICT capability. Older kids will enjoy planning, taking photos and making a movie. They can either draw their characters or create them using models they bring in like toys or plasticine.
Taking photos – tablet computers such as iPads are awesome ICT tools for this type preschool technology activity. They can learn how to transfer it onto a computer into a folder which you have helped to create. More essential skills and knowledge gained!
Manipulate images – continuing on from using digital images from those taken from iPads or even smartphone cameras, after they have been transferred into a folder you open up a new file in an image manipulation program. There are many of these to choose from and the best part is that they mostly generic and cost-effective. Take them through key ICT techniques that they need to learn by carefully planning your demonstrations and pointing out the conceptual understanding behind each one.
Practice mathematics – Have you ever thought of setting up a spreadsheet to help children understand calculations using simple formulas? Subject specific will not develop their capabilities in ICT so it is important that you understand the key ICT techniques they need to know in order for you to anticipate any issues or problems that may arise.
Creating technology – wipe your worries away about the lack of technology available. The best technology is sometimes the ones that the children make themselves. You can take them on a excursion to see different types of technology down the street and walk them back to discuss what they have seen, listing on the board and then setting them a task to create the one technology they liked the most. They will fun with it for a while.
Make a movie – technology experiences for children can be a fun way to learn how make a movie using programs such as MovieMaker. They can use webcams or the digital recorders from iPads or smartphones provided.
Programming toys – there is a lot to be said for using programmable toys as part of your technology in preschool activities. Beebots can be used to teach literacy, numeracy and most parts of the EYLF depending on your imagination.
All of these technology experiences for children enable you to develop ICT capability essentially building on what a child might already know from home experiences of Information and Communication Technology.
It is important that along with this technology in preschool activities you accompany them with high impact ICT teaching strategies to help young children understand the notion of ICT as a tool designed for a specific purpose.
Integrating technology activities for preschoolers should always be about building on a child’s technology experiences and facilitating the development of ICT capability and technological literacy..
5 Ways that ICT can help children in Preschool Today
In an ever changing world, where technology is the catalyst for many changes and when technology is rapidly changing itself, it is important that parents send their children to early learning centres where they can begin to reap the benefits of technology in early childhood education.
As an early childhood educator, it is important that you model creative, responsible and appropriate use of technology in preschool activities.
How Children can learn with Technology in Preschool Activities today
Below are 5 ways young children can use technology in kindergarten and preschool today.
Connect with other children
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) when applied to early learning environments can provide the ability for young children to close great distances and communicate through chat, sharing videos or even sharing classes with other children around the world. What a great way to build relationships?!
It also helps them learn about their world including their technological one!
Through researching and exploring young children gradually begin to understand the role of technology in their lives whether it may be tablet computers, mobile phones, laptops or desktop computers. In the process, they learn key information literacy skills to help them access, evaluate, and search for particular things of interest to them such as maybe animals or video clips about a topic.
One way that you can use iPads as a type of ICT in preschool is to take it outside with you when the young children are playing. If they are hanging upside down on the monkey bars you could say: “You look like a monkey….I wonder what other animals can swing? Shall we investigate on the iPad and see?”
However, iPads is just one example of ICT in preschool so you could also use laptops or your smartphone to model this sort of use of ICT in life.
A key purpose to use ICT in preschool is to develop or build a child’s ICT capability and by encouraging the use of creative apps that are open-ended you can respond more to their learning needs. Nurturing creativity in early childhood education and in addition to the main drawing and painting apps, you can also use apps that duplicate the familiar Etch a Sketch activity.
There are also apps that enable you to work with a child to design and create objects, machines, and clothes. You need to focus on apps where children are prompted to solve problems, build, or create and that gives them full control of the software and allows you to achieve your goals of integrating Information and Communication Technology in preschool activities.
Promoting robotics in early childhood education can be a great way to learn and play. Simple robotics such as bee-bots or ‘dot to dot’ programmable robots can be used with navigation maps and integrated well into your early years curriculum. The use of robotics also allows for the learning of early code and problem-solving.
Role playing is about learning without failure and is it well-known that young children lest best when playing. So a great way for you to integrate ICT in preschool and to help them learn about the use and role of technology in early childhood education is to provide them with opportunities. These can include both working and non-working technologies. It can also be toy technologies that resemble the real, authentic technologies that people use today.
So let them tinkle with technology in preschool activities this way and help them understand their technological surroundings better.
How to Choose the Best Numeracy ICT Activities
Computers and other forms of ICT also have the capacity to support young children to develop mathematical thinking. The use of technology in early childhood education can transform numeracy learning very well.
Two guiding principles which you should adhere to from the DATEC project criteria include:
- ICT tool should be educational and;
- ICT tool should support play.
In this article, you will learn the best practices to choose the most developmentally appropriate ICT maths activities for children.
Choosing Numeracy Activities with Technology
Desktops and Laptops – You don’t have to buy software to put your computer to work as a tool for maths learning. Use programs that already come with the computer such as Excel spreadsheets, calculator or timer to practice and explore maths concepts. You can also show children pictures of things such as spiders, centipedes or ants and count the legs.
Software, Apps and Activities – It is best if you look for added features that engage children and provide variety and also have the ability to increase the level of challenge as children progress. You need to interact with children as they learn to count the things in their environment, and then support that learning with appropriate computer programs. Don’t forget that there are several websites which contain maths activities for children to play and practice maths skills.
Tablets and Smartphones – It is best to ignore counting and sorting activities and to look for math activities with different levels of difficulty. Games that relate to how maths is used in real life is also ideal. It is better to do an activity where they drag a triangle shape onto a photo of a slice of pizza to help them to connect it to the real world and to understand better. You could even find complex shapes and anticipate how they might fit together to make a pizza, a glass of milk, or an apple would be even more practical. Another idea would be counting the virtual slices of pepperoni.
Pictures and Videos – One good idea for an activity is to create a class-made book that has counting examples taken from photos of the local community. The photos could be of buildings which the children recognise and that shows buildings with windows in it. You could print out copies to give to the children to take on their neighbourhood walks. They could use the photos to help them identify and talk about the buildings. Consider photos in a sequencing activity and create and record patterns, comparisons, and quantities. Finally, as Simon and Nemeth (2016) state, photographic representations on your various charting and graphing projects can go a long way towards helping children focus on the key items being counted or charted.
Excitement exists in mathematics lessons through the imaginative use of ICT. However, your role as a teacher is of critical importance in supporting a constructivist approach to learning. You must provide scaffold to support their knowledge building and this can be achieved through the provision of appropriate activities and carefully considered questioning and explanation.
5 Easy Steps to Creating Purposeful ICT Activities for Primary Students
As primary teachers, we continue to equip our students for a world and a society that is dominated by Information and Communication Technology (ICT). You are, therefore, most likely already aware for the need to integrate ICT into teaching and learning. The role of ICT in the primary classroom is a complex but potentially powerful tool.
However, if you are to develop an ICT integrated approach then the ICT activities for students that you will embed within the curriculum key learning areas must be supported by your understanding of the ICT concepts.
It is also significant that you focus on setting clear objectives for each classroom ICT activity for students. For example, you need to plan to develop each students’ ICT capability prior to using ICT in subject learning so that students can focus on specific subject learning.
This should be your ultimate aim as a teacher to ensure that ICT use in meaningful and purposeful ICT activities for primary school students.
ICT Activities that Enhance Literacy
Any ICT activity has context and it would be hard to introduce spreadsheets, for example, without involving a number activity. That is why when you teach literacy with ICT you understand this principle. We all know by now that ICT can enhance student literacy learning so why not make these primary school activities with the opportunity to develop student ICT capability alongside literacy learning?
It seems the best way to achieve it.
Begin first by understanding the meaning of ICT capability. It is not about just teaching ICT techniques, yet this has been the common misconception and norm among many of us. Yes, it does involve ICT techniques but ICT capability is more than this. It is to do with focusing on the concepts behind the ICT techniques and seeking to develop all the components of it such as the routines, processes, higher order thinking skills. Conceptual understanding is important if you are to facilitate the development of an ICT capable classroom.
You will learn more about this in the following ICT lessons for primary students.
What makes these literacy with ICT teaching activities difference is that they will enable you to foster learning strategies that emphasise higher order thinking skills.
STEP 1. ENHANCE LITERACY IN THE FOUNDATION
As you can see, these are Australian Curriculum activities yet the strategies for literacy with ICT can not only be employed in other key learning areas but also in national curriculums wherever you may teach.
STEP 2. ENHANCE LITERACY IN YEAR 1
STEP 3. ENHANCE LITERACY IN YEAR 2
In each Australian Curriculum booklet, you will find ICT tasks for students that will engage learning and enhance literacy.
STEP 4. ENHANCE LITERACY IN YEAR 3
STEP 5. ENHANCE LITERACY IN YEAR 4
Download these ICT activities for Preschoolers as a member of our ICT in Education Teacher Academy now for just $20 AUD ($12.72 USD) per month (cancel anytime).