By Michael Hilkemeijer
As a former teacher, I know about time constraints for preparation especially when it comes to integrating technology in the classroom. So below, I have put together a number of ICT activities for preschoolers 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
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.
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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.