Everyone knows that kids are fascinated with new things, and education can be made more interactive and interesting with the use of technology. The word “technology” is used broadly, referring to interactive digital and electronic devices, software, smartphones and tablets, apps, video games and screen based media. Technology is continuously evolving and playing a vital role in the 21st century education.
Kids or Preschool children are still having significant cognitive growth i.e. in a very real sense, children think differently than adults. This is so because their brains have not yet completely developed. So an educational video for an adult means something entirely different than when a three-year-old hears and sees. These experiences can be very positive and mind-expanding for a child — as long as they are done at the right time.
Children need real-life experiences with real people to truly benefit from available technologies. Technologies should be used to enhance curriculum and experiences for children. Children have to have an integrated and well-balanced set of experiences to help them grow into capable adults that can handle social-emotional interactions as well as develop their intellectual abilities.
To avoid inappropriate use of technology, educators need positive examples of how to successfully adapt and integrate technology into the classroom to enhance children’s learning and a set of guidelines for the informed and intentional selection, use, and evaluation of technology tools with young children. Intentional, appropriate, and integrated use of technology is dependent on the ability, knowledge, and skills of teachers. In the digital age, teachers need preserves and professional development opportunities to try out new technology tools, learn about appropriate use of technology, and gain the knowledge and skills to implement them effectively.
The selection of technology
- Keeping in mind the health of all children.
- Clear vision on whether, when, and how to integrate technology tools to enhance learning for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.
- Check if a specific use of technology is age appropriate, individually appropriate, and culturally and linguistically appropriate.
The use of technology
- Appropriate use of technology and screen media depends on the age, developmental level, needs, interests, and abilities of each child.
- Effective uses of technology and smart devices are active, hands-on, engaging, and empowering; give the child control; provide adaptive scaffolds to ease the accomplishment of tasks; and are used as one of many options to support children’s learning anywhere.
- When used appropriately, technology can enhance children’s cognitive and social abilities.
- Interactions with technology should be playful.
- Assistive Technology provides equitable access for children with special needs.
The integration of technology
- Technology can enhance early childhood practice when integrated into the environment, curriculum, and daily routines.
- Technology tools can improve how we measure and record development, document growth, plan activities, and share information with parents, families, and communities.
- Technology tools can help educators make and strengthen home–school connections
The evaluation of technology
- Technological and media literacy are essential to guide early childhood educators and parents in the selection, use, and evaluation of technology tools and screen media.
- Digital citizenship is essential in the 21st century.
- Early childhood programs have an obligation to use technology to bridge the digital divide.
Share your experiences of using technology with young kids through comments.