Technology

THE T IN STEM IS FOR TECHNOLOGY

During the preschool years, young children are developing a sense of initiative and creativity. They are curious about the world around them and about learning. They are exploring their ability to create and communicate using a variety of media (crayons, felt-tip markers, paints and other art materials, blocks, dramatic play materials, miniature life figures) and through creative movement, singing, dancing, and using their bodies to represent ideas and experiences. Digital technologies provide one more outlet for them to demonstrate their creativity and learning

Technology Tools and Interactive Media allow children to freely explore touch screens loaded with a wide variety of developmentally appropriate interactive media experiences that are well designed and enhance feelings of success.

They provide opportunities for children to begin to explore and feel comfortable using “traditional” mouse and keyboard computers to use Websites or look up answers with a search engine, capture photos of block buildings or artwork that they have created.

Technology tools build core competencies and foster engagement in children
Young children need to develop core competencies in computer and technology use.

 According to the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), these basic skills in technology operation should be achieved by the age of five so starting the learning process in preschool is therefore both important and necessary.

By using a writing tool or manipulating content on a screen with the touch of a finger, the fine-motor skills and hand-eye coordination of early learners can be enhanced. “Young children need opportunities to develop the ‘technology-handling’ skills associated with early digital literacy that are akin to the ‘book-handling’ skills associated with early literacy development.” (National Institute for Literacy 2008)

Preschool and early learning is all about discovery, exploration and imaginative play and expanding their imagination. Through interactive classrooms, the farthest reaches of the world, the galaxy become alive with crisp sounds, colourful images, and real-time video.

Flexible, interactive technology can provide the foundation for a daily routine that is adaptable to busy and energetic pre-kindergarten students. Despite the many interruptions and changes faced in these classrooms, technology can help create more structure and focus.

Technology tools support the ways educators measure and record development, document growth, plan activities, and share information with parents, families, and communities,” says the NAEYC. 

The world in which a child grows up today is vastly different from the one we experienced as children. Therefore, it is important — even vital — for our early learners to have access to interactive technology. In an increasingly digital world, if students don’t have access to this type of technology, not only will they miss out on the benefits of this technology, but they will learn in a manner which is not conducive to their future environments.

We need to recognise and meet the present as well as future needs of these children so they are best prepared to succeed. In a society where technology is used as a tool at home, at work, and in school, providing our youngest learners with the opportunities to explore technology in thoughtful ways and promote digital citizenship is one of our many jobs as educators.