How are teachers really using technology with children?
We asked teachers to consider a typical week in their class and describe how a child uses technology:
- 35% indicated a balance of ½ teacher-directed and ½ child-initiated learning activities.
- 28% reported mostly child-initiated, with some time for teacher-directed learning activities
- 23% said mostly teacher-directed activities with some time for child-initiated learning activities
- Less than 10% said they used technology only for teacher-controlled activities, and less than 10% said they use it only for child-initiated activities.
But you haven’t heard the worrisome part yet. Of the 230+ teachers who have interactive technology in their classrooms, less than half of them usually include that tech in their lesson plans!
“The children enjoy it.” Real reasons why are teachers using technology with children …
We wanted to find out why teachers and administrators choose to use technology in their programs, so we asked.
A majority of teachers (80%) and administrators (69%) chose the reason “The children enjoy it.” After that, about half (54% teachers; 48% of administrators) reported, “Technology helps children meet the goals of the program” as their main reason for using technology.
When asked about specific purposes for using technology in early education, teachers revealed that technology helps them address particular needs in their program related to diversity and assessment.
- More than ¾ of teachers and administrators told us that technology is being used in their programs for progress monitoring.
- 60% of teachers report they are using technology to support dual language learners, and 54% of directors agree.
- 65% are using technology with children who have special needs and 69% of directors believe that technology is being used for children with special needs in their program.
What are your reasons for using technology? Are we missing how and why you use technology?
Tell us more! Complete the second questionnaire in our series, and sign up to receive more of these tantalizing Technology Tidbits by email! The survey is brief and signing up for Technology Tidbits from the Early Childhood Today Survey Series is optional!
* You can read more about the data collected in this survey here.
How Much Time Do Young Children Spend Using Technology in School?
Technology use in preschool classrooms is hotly debated. But, how much time are children really spending with different kinds of technology in early childhood classrooms?
We delved into this question in our recent *survey and discovered that close to 2/3 of teachers reported their children used desktops/laptops, tablets, and handheld devices for less than thirty minutes per day. In contrast, teachers were more likely to spend over 30 minutes per day using interactive white boards and smart tables. About half of respondents who use technology say their children use it every day in school. Most of the remaining respondents say they use technology with children a few days a week, with only 7% of teachers and 3% of administrators saying the children used technology less than once each week.
Do our results surprise you? Tell us what’s happening in your class. How often are children using interactive technologies in your program? Share your experiences with us! Complete the second questionnaire in our series, and sign up to receive more of these tantalizing Technology Tidbits by email! The survey is brief and signing up for Technology Tidbits from the Early Childhood Today Survey Series is optional!
* You can read more about the data collected in this survey here.
…desktops/laptops at a rate almost 3 times higher than tablets! 93% of teachers who use technology in their classrooms reported using desktops or laptops, but more than half of the teachers and administrators that don’t have tablet devices in their classrooms report they think they would be good tools to use with the children. Only 34% of the teachers who reported using technology in their classrooms indicated that they used tablets or iPads.
So, what else are early childhood teachers using? The preliminary results from our first survey show that Interactive whiteboards (IWBs) were surprisingly prevalent, with 55% of technology-enabled teachers reporting that they used IWBs. Only 16% report using handheld devices like ebook readers, or smartphones, and 5% report using multi-touch tables/surfaces .
Do you use technology in your classroom?
Why or why not? Tell us more! We want to hear from you whether you use technology in your classroom or not. Complete the second questionnaire in our series, and sign up to receive more of these tantalizing Technology Tidbits by email! The survey is brief and signing up for Technology Tidbits from the Early Childhood Today Survey Series is optional!
This is just a *sample of the results from the first survey in the Early Childhood Technology Today Series. Complete results will be published in various journals and conference presentations over the coming months. Stay tuned for more results by signing up for email updates.
You can read more about the data sample from this survey here.
If you’re connected to the field of early childhood education, either because you’re a parent, teacher, administrator, or other educator, then you’re probably aware of the groundbreaking developments occurring around the use of technology in early childhood classrooms. With the release of the new NAEYC and Fred Rogers Center technology position statement: Technology and Interactive Media as Tools in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children from Birth through Age there is now even clearer guidance for teachers who are interested in integrating technology into their classrooms in developmentally appropriate ways. To support this integration, a number of new resources have also been released by the Fred Rogers Center (The Early Learning Environment “Ele”), the Erikson Institute (The Technology in Early Childhood (TEC) Center), and here at ECEtech.net We created this site in hopes of creating a virtual community for exchange and dialogue, as well as inspiration, around issue of technology use in early childhood classrooms. With the advent of new apps, software, web 2.0 tools and other technologies each day, we want to make it easier for teachers to sift through all of these resources to find the Top Picks that we recommend they consider using in their classrooms.
With all of these free, accessible, and interactive community resources, the hope is that teachers, families, and administrators will begin to explore new and innovative ways to use technology as a tool for increased classroom engagement, individualized learning, and global collaboration. Of course, there are still many things that need to be clarified about the use of technology with young children. For example, some teachers may have concerns about “screen time” and the cognitive benefits of these tools. In order to alleviate these concerns, the key point that needs to be communicated and understood by everyone working with young children is that it is about the experience, not the tool! Every activity a child engages in, whether it is cooking in the dramatic play area; exploring another community on Google Earth; constructing a city in the block center; or creating a digital story using an iPad app, should be centered around the learning goals that are important for that specific child in relation to her or his developmental continuum. The question is not whether there are cognitive benefits to cooking utensils, Google Earth, blocks, or iPad apps, the question is whether there can there cognitive benefits to using those tools in scaffolded learning experiences. I would argue that the answer is yes for each one of those tools, as long as they are used in developmentally appropriate practice to engage children in open-ended, creative learning experiences.
In order to help clarify these types of questions and to gather more information about how technology is currently being used by administrators and teachers in early learning environments, the Early Childhood Technology Collaborative (ECTC), a new group of three early childhood technologists, is conducting the Early Childhood Technology Today Survey, 2012. As they state, “The objective of the Collaborative is to design and analyze the results of a series of brief surveys and develop and disseminate reports and whitepapers to inform our work and the field [of early childhood education] as a whole.” Their first survey is an overview of the technology tools teachers or administrators have or do not have in their programs, including questions about how these technologies are being use with children ages 2 through primary grades. If you would like to contribute to this research, you can access the survey here: Early Childhood Technology Today Survey, 2012
What is this Site?
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.