Pedagogy is defined as the art of teaching and it relates to the ‘how’ or practice of educating. It has a lot dot with the holistic nature of early childhood teacher’s teaching practices, curriculum planning and decision-making and teaching and learning.
As an early childhood educator, you judgment is central to the role of facilitator in children’s learning. In the EYLF, they are a culmination of:
- Professional knowledge and skills.
- Knowledge of children, families and communities.
- Awareness of how their beliefs and values impact on children’s learning.
- Personal styles and experiences.
In any context, right throughout a child’s educational journey the pedagogies that a child experiences must be the same to prevent any disruption in learning and to ensure that there is progressive learning.
Pedagogy in early childhood will look different in any context and when it comes to pedagogy in technology in early childhood education, it is about combining new technology with new pedagogy.
The main principle for this new pedagogy is the “collaboration of children and adults, which breeds a precondition for ICT-mediated interactions to emerge, consequently, for an independent creative search of a child, which definitely eliminates an authoritarian supervision over child’s thinking” (UNESCO, 2010, p. 126).
Professional development in the Pedagogy of ICT
In relation to PD courses for early childhood teachers, it is essential that you are able to:
- Understand and master didactics of integrating digital toys (most of those from the unit Digital toys) and educational software applications for children (most of those from the unit Educational software for children);
- Plan and monitor the development of children in using ICT to express themselves, for learning and play;
- Exploit ICT in support of most or all of teaching and developmental goals;
- Understand the role of ICT in modern early childhood education;
- Know their potential for the personal development of ECE children and for the professional lifelong development of ECE teachers.
(UNESCO, 2010, p. 137)
What are some pedagogies of ICT in Early Childhood?
As I stated earlier, progression in learning occurs when all teachers across the school share the same perspective on pedagogical strategies in ICT.
Therefore, while some of the following might predominantly sound like they are more suitable for children in primary education, all of the can be adapted to the needs of younger children by adapting them to effective teaching strategies in early childhood.
So let’s go through some of them now.
- Planning for integration – by doing this, ICT will be viewed as a tool to support and enhance teaching and learning.
- Build on children’s home use of ICT – even before they enter your ECE centre, they have experience and knowledge of ICT use. Make their activities interesting to them and structure them appropriately.
- Stimulate and structure learning – have clear objectives, involve structured activities and have high expectations along with having an appreciation of the problems they likely to come across. Support them with planned strategies to overcome them.
- Monitor their progress and intervene when they need help – this will have a beneficial effect on their ICT skills and knowledge.
- Assess and record children’s development in ICT capability and ICT literacy – assessment is closely linked to forward planning in early childhood education. Capitalise on your formative assessment strategies in early childhood to establish a starting point for learning journeys and to determine their capabilities in ICT along the way.
- Keep effective records and documentation – this is something which you may already know about. Ensure that they reflect children’s progression in learning.
- Group children and resources appropriately – this may be in relation to their differences in ICT capability, the personalities of the children, the sex or nature of the task.
Other strategies which both parent and early childhood teachers can utilise include:
- Encourage the use of technology in role play to develop autonomy in their use.
- Encourage independent use of technology at home.
- Use ICT to develop and support children’s creativity.
- Use ICT to develop literacy and language development in early childhood for example, by allowing children to use the capabilities of the computer to collect, record, embellish and play back stories, notes, instructions and poems.
Pedagogical adaptions in Early Childhood Education
Once you have assessed your own capabilities in ICT, including that of the children’s and the available ICT then effective planning can begin.
The critical question which you must first always answer is “Will integrating particular ICT enhance the teaching and learning experience?”
You need to consider if there is a need for pedagogical change that would enhance the learning experience.
Here is an example to give you a better picture about what I am talking about.
You might use the data projector to project notes onto the IWB. However, nothing has changed and the IWB has the potential to deliver many enhances to learning through pedagogical adaptions.
It is important that if you teach in the early years of schooling that you have the content knowledge that you will teach and an understanding of the pedagogies that work best with young children.
By content knowledge I mean subject-matter knowledge and pedagogical knowledge encompasses a deep knowledge of the processes and practices in teaching and learning.
ICT can and should be integrated both in the sense of environment and of pedagogy into a more general context of child development