Guiding Principles for Use of Technology with Early Learners

4743

Computers have been in use within the teaching scene since the late 1980’s, and have rapidly gained popularity as an effective learning tool in the classroom. For early learning programs, such as those that work with children aged 3 and above, introducing technology to your classroom could mean reshaping the way kids process new information.

The Importance of Technology in the Classroom

With new technology and software being introduced to education every year, early-learning teachers have more options to reach out to young children and teach them fundamental skills in ways that they otherwise might not understand. The iPad is one such example of technology, with apps and games geared towards developmental learning like the “Tiggly” learning module. This particular kit includes soft toys paired with various applications to help guide a child’s learning process with media that they can easily comprehend.

When used to support developmental learning in classrooms, introducing technology provides a useful aide geared towards better understanding of core concepts. Information that we can see and interact with better helps to cement into our brains ideas and concepts we are encountering for the first time. The same applies for young learners; with media that they can see, hear, and touch, we are creating a learning environment that enables the students to learn in a way that makes sense for them.

Achieving Greatness with Teaching Technology

With so many different ways to use technology and media to teach, it can be overwhelming to decide what tools to use in your classroom. Central College Online has a very helpful and informative blog post on the different types of media you can use in the classroom, including some that stray away from the traditional computer screen. These methods, along with traditional student-teacher interaction, creates an environment where students can actively participate in the lessons that are taught and better retain the information presented to them.

Open-ended programs that allow the student to explore their own theories and come to different conclusions are a valuable resource, as it allows the child to link previous real-world experiences with what they are learning on the screen. These types of programs encourage students to talk with their peers, collaborate towards a common goal, and foster relationships between students that otherwise would not be as prevalent in a ‘traditional’ learning environment. With occasional guidance and coaching on your part, students can fully experience the benefits of learning with technology and software.

Implementing Technology in the Classroom: Key Principles

The most important thing to remember when selecting technology to introduce to the class is that you should choose software that is developmentally appropriate for the group you are teaching. Introduce new ideas and concepts that agree with what they see every day; software that deals with topics such as diversity, gender equality, and multiculturalism should be considered when introducing new programs.

Be a role model for your students by utilizing technology within the classroom; show students practical applications of software such as word processors by printing their stories, or direct their instruction using a computer screen. When you show the appropriate way to use the technology present in your classroom, students will follow your examples and find new avenues of discovery on their own. However, don’t forget that technology is an aid to teaching, and should not replace traditional methods of learning such as sand tables, physical toys, and playing outside. Multiple methods of discovering their world make for a more enriched and well-rounded experience.

Technology is rapidly becoming a standard classroom tool for teachers with early learners. Tablets and computers provide a unique experience that can be interacted with in a way that students can easily digest. Introducing software in the classroom can be a powerful teaching aid that supplement lessons, enriching experiences, and promoting healthy curiosity about the world that is changing around us.