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Caritas Institute of Community Education
Higher Diploma in Early Childhood Education
Technology and Early Childhood Education
Student Name : Ho Chun Ngai, Donald
Student No. : 10125323
Today, the pace of life is increasing with the technology advancements. There are many kindergartens using ICT for children’s learning. ICT stands for Information and Communication Technology/Technologies. In early childhood education, teachers implement ICT tools and techniques to support teaching, learning and other cognitive activities. The ICT tools include computers, educational software applications, digital cameras, programmable toys and other similar devices. ICT has both its benefit and potential risk. From my point of view, the advantages of using the ICT in teaching outweigh their disadvantages.
To teach children technologies, teachers have to design activities for them and set clear objectives. The activities should help children understanding the relationship between humans and nature, and explore the relationship between technology and living. It can provide opportunities for children to learn at their own pace. In the teaching process, teachers have to provide scaffolding and guidance for children to use those technologies. Finally, children can master the basic exploration techniques and have the initial understanding of technology. The following part of the essay is to show some suggestion of teaching children technology with the use of ICT.
Firstly, teachers can organize space for children to learn technology, such as computer corner and computer lesson. About the arrangement of the computer corner, teachers can locate digital technologies in one classroom where have free access and a chance to use them on daily basis. It should be equipped with personal computers, interactive whiteboards and tablets. Then, teachers should introduce its name and its basic usage to children. After introducing all these technologies to student, teachers can ask which technology can be used base on the nature of the activities. For example, students have to understand that the sound recorder can be used if teachers want to record some animals sound and let students guess what the animal is.
About the computer lesson, teachers can conduct a various kinds of activities to help children exploring the use of technologies. By using the computers, digital camera and large (non-portable) ICT such as ceiling-mounted data projectors in the computer class, making e-photo albums and projecting web stories become possible to do it in the classroom. On the other hand, there are some software that teachers can use to teach children different skills, such as using “Tux Paint” to teach children drawing and painting, using “PowerPoint” to teach children multimedia presentation and using “Scratch” to teach children creative their own interactive stories and games. Then, students will understand a wide range of technologies and thus increase their creativity.
Secondly, except using the ICT in classroom, it also can be used outdoors and students thus know more about different kinds of technologies. Some technologies, like outdoor wireless camera, CD players and programmable toys, are suggested to use productively outside in the classroom and they act as a motivating factor in learning for some children. For example, Programmable toys can be considered as a mean to support the development of logical thinking and problem solving ability.
The above information can show what ICT and how ICT teachers can use to teach children technologies. Now, I would like to justify the rationale of using ICT for young children’s learning experience.
ICT is an efficient tool for supporting young children’s learning and development. ICT can provide a context for collaboration, cooperation and positive learning experiences between children, or between children and adults. Moreover, it can support various aspects of learning, including language development and the development of mathematical thinking (Kalas, 2010). The using of ICT also provide opportunities for scaffolding and supporting learning for children from diverse cultural or language backgrounds. “ New technologies offer teachers additional resources to use as they plan to meet a range of levels, learning styles, and the individual needs of students” (Van Scoter & Boss, 2002).
Choosing software is an important process because good software allows children to engage in self-directed exploration, and can be tailored to children’s individual needs.
On the top of that, ICT helps the children with special educational needs enhancing their learning ability. Children with special educational needs (SEN) refers to young person who experience learning difficulties which are more significant than those experienced by the majority of learners of the same age for a variety of reasons. ICT can help motivating the SEN children involve into the learning and playing process by overcoming some of the effects of their impairment as well as possible barriers creative by traditional ways of educational technology. The independence, integration and equal opportunities for SEN children can be greatly improved after the application of ICT. For example, Hornof and Cavender introduced software program called ‘EyeDraw’ in 2005. It enables individuals with severe motor impairments to draw with their eyes and has been tested successfully (Drigas and Loannidou, 2013).
About the role of the ICT in early childhood education, it acts as a supporting role or can be described as a “second teacher” towards child development. The use of the ICT supports the key areas of learning in ECE like collaboration and socio-dramatic play. Children using ICT in their play (alone, with peers, or with teachers). It supports the literacy development by helping children observe, fix, memorize, describe and share their impressions with others. For example, using videoconferencing is a way to share their news with parents about what’s happening in the ECE. Moreover, it supports children’s developing the mathematical thinking and problem solving skills. It is because ICT presents mathematics in visual and tangible forms. ICT’s role as a bridge is also important in ECE. It connects two cultures by bringing children’s home culture and experience into the ECE centre.
To explore the potential of using the ICT in early childhood education, the first thing that teacher need to do is to reflect on the process and problems off building a computer corner and an ICT corner. They should gradually concentrate on “how to recognize and exploit new possibilities brought in by new technologies” and “how to develop new pedagogies and exploit them to achieve the goal in a better way. It is necessary for the kindergarten to buy the up-to-date ICT rather than using the one that are not suitable and not appropriate. On the other hand, “integrating various categories and types of ICT, and extending different scenarios” (New Zealand Council for Educational Research, 2004) are highly recommended to adopt in the future development. After mastering the basic techniques of the ICT, children and teachers need to master further skills in integrating ICT into activities for the divided group. Therefore, we can see that the ICT in the ECE can be explored more thoroughly in the future.
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Drigas, A. S. & Ioannidou R. E. (2013). Special Education and ICTs. <http://imm.demokritos.gr/publications/Special_Education_ICTs.pdf>. Kalas, I. (2010). Recognizing the Potential of ICT in Early Childhood Education. The UNESCO Institute for Information Technology in Education. New Zealand Council for Educational Research. (2004). The role and potential of ICT in early childhood education. A review of New Zealand and international literature. Wellington. Van Scoter, J., & Boss, S. (2002). Learners, language, and technology: Making connections that support literacy. Portland, OR: Northwest Regional Educational Laborator.
ge development and the development of mathematical thinking (Kalas, 2010).