By Michael Hilkemeijer
I wanted to talk to you about the types of ICT tools which you might use in your early childhood learning environment.
It is important to note the quality and appropriateness of the ICT tools directly affects the quality of the role play.
However, this doesn’t mean that you have go and buy the seemingly never-endless array of ICT tools and resources out there.
True, the ICT tools needs to reflect what the children are using in their lives, however, it is more important to have range of different types of ICT tools which is valuable in its own way.
|ICT Tools in Early Childhood Education|
What are appropriate ICT tools and resources for early childhood?
There are in fact 4 different types of ICT tools that the children will find useful.
Let’s go through them now.
The first one is ICT tools that work such as digital cameras.
These are great because the give children opportunities to explore ICTs and develop their understanding of how it works.
They also learn why we would want to use them and then learn to use them in a supportive environment.
To watch children’s competence and confidence grow in their use of these in role plays will be fantastic and they will soon begin to use them for a real purpose within the context of the role play situation.
Of course the other end of this is ICT tools that don’t work such as old and unused keyboards and digital cameras.
One such issue that you come across with working ICTs is that children may become too confused on getting the ICT tool to work rather than role playing its use.
And this is where Toy technologies comes into play.
You can equip the role play area with toy technologies and some of these may have few or no working parts.
Examples of this may be a toy mobile phone with buttons to press.
There is one advantage to the toys that do actually ‘work’ and that is it enhance the role play experience and prompt actions and reactions from the children.
Finally, we cannot disregard the fact that the children may want to create the ICT tools themselves.
Made technologies make excellent props for role play.
This may in fact be more valuable than any other props as the children have made a personal investment in their creation of the tool for their role play.
From a teacher’s perspective, this is fantastic as you can then gain an understanding of the children’s understanding of the ICTs through effective questioning and dialogue.
Furthermore, by observing the children construct the ICT tools you are able to build on your understandings of a child’s view of ICT.
So those are the appropriate ICT tools in early childhood. Remember it is not about the next big technological development to come along that will solve your ICT integration issues.
It is about the here and the now of the available technologies and imagining the potential of its use for learning in the context in which it will be taught.