According to a 2012 statement issued by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, NAEYC, technology supports the development of learning and relationships. Children learn about the world in many ways, such as through movement, dance, singing, coloring and other kinetic activities designed to help improve their ability to communicate and create. Technology gives children an alternative way of exploring and interacting with the world. It provides them with one more outlet to express themselves creatively through the use of rich, interactive media.
Suitability of Technology
Regardless of the skill developed, the technology used in a preschool classroom should not harm the student in any way. Remember, these students are still at the formative age. Physically dangerous, emotionally charged, exploitative and intimidating uses of technology should never find their way into the classroom. Teachers should limit reliance on technology and continue to place an emphasis on real-world experiences and learning. Proper training in the use of technology also helps to ensure that teachers know how to most effectively use technology tools in the classroom, according to NAEYC.
Pros and Cons
Technology can help developing students improve attention, develop skills more quickly, support storytelling and engage students in the classroom. However, technology when used incorrectly can also negatively impact student development. The use of technology can interfere with outside play, interaction with peers and the development of communication skills, according to NAEYC. Students who spend too much time using a computer also tend to do worse on written exams. Striking a balance and minimizing technology use can help students develop in a healthy way by promoting the development of self-esteem and confidence through positive experiences with both technology and real-world play.
Preschool children today have many more technology options than past generations that had only passive technology such as televisions and VHS players. Preschool teachers can use interactive smart boards that respond and interact with touch-based commands directly on the board. These smart boards can also give preschool students informative feedback based on their input, as well as give them control over outcomes. According to NAEYC, interactive technologies help students increase attention span, refine visual discrimination, improve motor skills and provides extra support for visual, aural and tactile-based learners. Furthermore, there is evidence that shows the use of interactive boards increases collaboration among preschoolers and supports the development of literacy and math skills.
Types of Technology
Various types of technology exist to help students prepare for success in kindergarten. Assistive technology can help students through apps and computer programs suitable for students with learning disabilities such as dyslexia and dysgraphia, according to the National Center for Learning Disabilities. Preschoolers can benefit from apps that help to improve reading, writing and math-related issues. Cameras and recording equipment help teachers chronicle, assess and showcase individual student progress. Interactive games and listening exercises provide support for developing specific skills, such as the ability to identify colors, solve problems and improve listening comprehension. Technology that helps support story telling, communication and social skills can help enhance the classroom environment.
Teachers need to select technologies that provide quality content and promote co-engagement on the part of the learner. Teacher should avoid using programs and materials that create an isolating experience, unless the teacher wants to work on a specific ability such as developing focus and concentration. Preschoolers need activities that allow them to work with the teacher and use the technology as a guide -- not a replacement for conventional human-based interaction and instruction. Television, videos and other noninteractive, passive technologies should be avoided. Teachers and parents should also limit the use of technology with children two years old or younger. All technology employed should help support the development of relationships between the adult and child.
- Scholastic.com: Using Technology in the Early Childhood Classroom
- National Association for the Education of Young Children: Technology and Young Children
- National Association for the Education of Young Children: Technology and Interactive Media as Tools in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children From Birth to Age 8
- European Early Childhood Education Research Journal: Interactive Whiteboards, Interactivity and Play in the Classroom With Children Aged Three to Seven Years
- National Center for Learning Disabilities: Assistive Technology
- University of Massachusetts Boston: Interactive Whiteboards in Early Childhood Mathematics
- National Association for the Education of Young Children: Finding the Education in Educational Technology With Early Learners
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