Quality Wooden Toys
Quality Wooden Toys
In the early childhood years, technology is a tool for learning, exploration, discovery, communicating, telling a story, documenting, sharing, saving, revisiting and reflecting. In the earliest years, technology tools for learning in early childhood settings and at home should emphasise communication, interactions, relationships and joint engagement. Technology tools can include computers, tablets, apps, smartphones, TVs, handheld games, cameras, audio recorders, tape players, record players, head phones and familiar tools like crayons and pencils, scissors, rulers, blocks and magnifying glasses. Powerful tools for learning by digital age learners.
It’s challenging to be an analog adult in a world inhabited by digital young children. Making effective, appropriate and intentional choices about the selection and use of technology tools and digital media for young children can be difficult, even overwhelming, for early childhood educators and parents. In a screen-saturated world, adults need to manage the quality and quantity of technology and media use in children’s lives – how much children watch, what they watch and what they do when they are using screens. And to be sure that technology and media do not displace interactions with others, active and imaginative play, time outdoors, hands-on activities with real materials, and creative expression through art, music and movement. When used well, technology tools can enhance learning by providing children with new means of inquiry and expression, new ways to document their learning and show what they know, and to communicate and collaborate.
Educators and parents have worried about allowing technology in early childhood classrooms (being screenworried).
Deeper conversations about appropriate and intentional use; tech integration; addressing issues of access, equity and diversity; connections between formal and informal learning; new tools for family engagement; and the role of educators as media mentors (being screenwise) are needed. Grounded in developmentally-informed and evidence-based practices, those who work for or on behalf of young children and families, are developing guidelines for selecting, using, integrating and evaluating technology tools for learning in the early years.
The analog adults who work with young children today were not born into the digital age, but children are growing up in a digital world with new tools that create exciting opportunities for learning if they have digitally-literate adults who are media MANAGERS, MEDIATORS, MENTORS, and MAKERS.
It can feel like a full-time job to keep up with the rapid pace of innovation in technology. Some familiar keywords have emerged that can guide your practice and provide essential characteristics of effective and appropriate use of technology with young children.
Blue-Bot® shows a perfect example of integrating technology in the classroom in an exciting and interactive and social way!
How do educators make appropriate and intentional choices in a world where technology devices have become ubiquitous, and where devices that adults use constantly are also in the hands of young children? We need to manage the quality and quantity of children’s technology and media use in early childhood settings and at home. As educators, we need to partner with parents and families to ensure that children’s engagement with screen media supports early learning and the development of the whole child.
When considering if, when, how, where and why to use technology with very young children, parents and educators are the decision makers on what screens, devices, digital media and interactive technology children have access to. Decisions need to be informed and intentional and based on knowledge of child development and early learning, developmentally appropriate principles and always in the context of joint engagement, interactions and relationships that support healthy social emotional development and create connections and avoid disconnections between young children and caring adults.
- Donohue, 2015
Consider these points in your teaching practise:
This blog post features a sneak peek at the thoughtful section by Dr. Donohue dedicated to technology in the new edition of "Take Another Look". This much-loved ‘90’s classic book has been updated to fit within a contemporary context. If you'd like to read more, get your copy here.
About the Author:
Dr. Chip Donohue - Principal at Donohue & Associates, Founding Director of the Technology in Early Childhood (TEC) Center at Erikson Institute and Senior Fellow and Advisor of the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media