By Michael Hilkemeijer
As a preschool teacher, it is your responsibility to be an interested observer and collaborator in children’s play. It is important that you find out what children are interested in, what they know and what they can do in order to support their learning effectively.
Children’s achievements in ICT capability can be recognised across all Learning Outcomes, but in particularly in Outcome 4 and 5 (EYLF), Goal 3 – Communication, Goal 4 – Communication and Goal 3 – Exploration (Te Whariki). To be effective, you must monitor children sensitively and respond appropriately to encourage and extend curiosity and learning.
4 Reasons to Monitor Children’s ICT use in Preschool
In relation to ICT use in preschool, you may monitor learning in regards to the following questions (Price, 2009).
- Is it possible that the children who come to the setting with the most ICT skills and understanding also leave the most? Are we able to bridge the divide at all?
- How do we recognise what stage children are at with ICT and know what to provide next to support, encourage and enable them?
- How do we know that we are engaging girls as well as boys? All our cultures? Including individual needs and challenging the more able?
- Are we considering dialogue with parents and professionals and transfer of children from one setting to another
What to monitor when children are using ICT?
Generally, there are 3 things to consider which include:
- A child’s growing awareness of the technological world.
- Their ICT skills, understanding and progress.
- Children’s ability to use and access equipment.
Let’s break this down a bit further shall we…..
First understand what ICT Capability is
ICT capability is more than just the learning of techniques and skills it comprises of other components which are:
- Higher order skills.
Monitoring children’s ICT use should then include how they are able to carry out these sets of processes.
5 Ways to monitor Individuals and Groups
According to Price (2009), the best way forward is to:
- Keep within the ways that you already evaluating.
- Try to resist a checklist of discrete ICT skills.
- Plan to quickly observe all the children two or three times a year to see if and how they are accessing equipment and what their next steps might be.
- Plan to quickly monitor access by groups of children.
- Have a folder for each child, or a group of children on the computer. You could add their achievements over the year.
14 Ways to maximise the value of your documentation?
- Don’t stay in one place, get around to different places at different times and use various method of documentation.
- Set clear objectives and goals as to what you looking for and why.
- Ask yourself questions such as “What can I learn about this child?”, “What are these children telling me?”, “What do I now know that I didn’t before?”
- Record exactly what you see.
- Use descriptive language.
- Invite your colleagues to monitor a child as they may pick up something you didn’t.
- When analysing and interpreting your documentation, ask yourself “What exactly is the child doing or saying?”
- Involve children in discussion about what they have achieved.
- Make sensitive interpretations avoiding judgemental language.
- You could ask “How can I build on this child’s interest?” or “How could I present this ICT experience more attractively to make it more appealing?”
- Make links to the Early Years curriculum outcomes.
- Identify the next steps as you reflect and evaluate your documentation.
- Invite parents to contribute to your documentation by making time and space for them to comment.
- Consider if your documentation respectfully acknowledges children’s home language and cultural mores within the context of the wider setting.