With the launch of the Digital Decisions Booknet this week, I have been busy reading and talking with others here on the site about technology in early childhood education! The book starts off with a timely discussion about the fears that many educators and administrators have about the use of technology in early childhood and tries to address some of those concerns. Below, I provide a brief summary of the key points from the first two chapters, along with some lingering questions I was left with after reading them.
In addition to reading, reflecting, and writing about the book, we have been posting questions online to expand the discussion to the entire early childhood community online. The most popular question in our forum has been: “What is your biggest challenge in trying to achieve a balance between the use of technology and other materials in your organization?” This popularity of this post speaks to the difficulty of balancing technology use in the classroom. Luckily, chapter 2 of Digital Decisions provides some suggestions, as do some of the other readers in our book club.
Some important points that they have brought up include the need for training in order to understand how to use and balance technology in early childhood and the benefit of allowing children to teach us ways to use new technologies in creative and exploratory ways. What are some other requirements, in terms of training, practice, or educational philosophy that are necessary to balance technology in the classroom?
- Technology has changed a great deal over the years and new tools allow us to more easily integrate technology into all areas of the classroom.
- Technology should be used as a tool to enhance and enrich existing classroom activities, not replace your current practice.
- Interactive technology is very different than passive media, the first has a place in the classroom, the latter does not.
- Interactive means choosing tools that allow children “to be actively engaged in making things happen with device sand applications.”
- The beginning of the chapter talks about the history of technology in early childhood. What have we learned from those first steps? Have we talked to teachers who have been integrating technology continuously over the years?
- Page 16 talks about bringing best practice to life. How is “best practice” defined and who is defining it in regards to technology integration in early childhood?
- The book provides guidance about how to use tech appropriately and alleviate concerns about poor tech integration but what about the educators who are not receiving this information? How can we ensure they use technology well?
- I love the focus on interactive tools, discussed on page 24. Is there a comprehensive list of these types of tools?
- There is a distinct difference between how children under two and children three or older should be interacting with technology.
- Technology use should be integrated throughout the classroom and built into lesson plans, setting arbitrary time limits prevents children from engaging in creative and meaningful play with technology.
- Set some expectations for how much teachers and children will be using various interactive tools, think about creating a chart that children can contribute to where they can track their technology time.
- Page 27 suggests children should have as much time as it takes during choice time to work on a project using technology. Is that something you can start right away or do you build up to allowing children that type of freedom with tech?
- The approximate amount of time for teacher-directed experiences with technology is 20 minutes (p.30). How do you plan for experiences that are just the right amount, not too long or too short?
Ch2Q1: What strategy would you suggest to a teacher who has a child who loves technology and wants to spend all day using it? What about a child who never wants to use technology?
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Ch2Q2: Are there other activities you would add to the weekly play chart in chapter 2? If so, what types of technology can be used in those areas?
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A membership commmunity for realiable information about technology in early education.
Who We Are
Karen Nemeth, Ed.M. and Fran Simon, M.Ed. - early learning experts with a passion for helping educators use technology to achieve their goals.
We designed ECETech.net to give early childhood educators an easy online resource for reliable information about technology implementation.