Early Connections: Technology in Early Childhood Education
bar
Child Care Preschool Kindergarten Primary
Grades
Before/After
School
space
Learning &
Development
Learning &
Technology
Technology
&Curriculum
Classroom
Arrangement
Software
Selection
Health &
Safety
Hardware
Resources



student work

Alligators are very interesting reptiles. They lay about 60 eggs, and only 1 or 2 live to be a adult. They can pretend they are a log so they can catch their prey. If an alligator chases you, you should zig zag because they can't turn very well. That is why I think they are such interesting reptiles.

--Caitlin


More examples of student work

Technology & Curriculum

For young learners, technology is part of their everyday lives. Computers and other technology are tools to use when appropriate and effective. Their use in the classroom can range from short and simple lessons to being an integral part of long-term projects. Including technology as a part of classroom activities can be motivating, and allows students to learn, communicate, and share their knowledge and understanding in a wide variety of ways.

Children receive the greatest benefits from technology when these elements are present:

  • The lesson or project is directly connected to the curriculum
  • The technology allows for active learning, with students making decisions
  • The software is interactive or discovery based
  • The lesson or project is open-ended, allowing learners to proceed at their own pace
  • Technology is applied to real problems with a real-life connection
  • The setting is designed to allow children to interact while working at the computer
  • Computers are included in the curriculum within the classroom rather than set apart in a separate room or lab

Adding Technology to Lessons

In the primary grades, children and teachers focus especially on readiness skills, literacy, and mathematics. Classroom instruction is guided by the curriculum goals of the school or district, and the content standards in place in most states. Technology can support these lessons and educational goals when used in a planned and guided manner.

Language Development and Emerging Literacy

As children talk together, share their writing, or lean over to read another's words on the screen, they use language to communicate. Computers and other forms of technology support literacy and encourage speaking, reading, writing, and listening, through formal and informal language opportunities. Technology can:

  • Provide children with ways to express themselves

    • Young students can present or represent their learning in ways that make sense to them, using tools such as digital cameras, scanners, and computer software to show information, create pictures, build graphs, and share ideas.
    • Children make up stories as they play, and frequently tell stories about the pictures they create. Technology offers a variety of ways for children to weave together words and pictures to tell their stories, then display them on the screen or print them.
  • Offer support for young learners

    • Writing and revising can be difficult as children struggle with letter formation and fine motor skills. Word processors let them focus on the ideas, and more easily compose and revise text. This encourages children to view writing as a process, and to refine their work.
    • Speech synthesizers read aloud the text on the screen, and allow children experience with both oral and written language. "Talking books" use synthesized speech to read aloud a story as the child listens and follows along with the highlighted words on the screen.
    • This same technology reads back a child's own words. Because the digital voice reads exactly what was written, and not what the writer meant to say, it provides the immediate, focused feedback helpful for learning. For example, when reading aloud a series of words without capitals or ending punctuation, the voice does not stop at the end of the idea. The importance of punctuation and capitals soon becomes clear.
  • Encourage reading and writing

    • Seeing text on the screen encourages students to read their own and others' writing as they work at the computer. Research confirms what common sense tells us - the more time children spend reading the better readers they become.
    • Technology in its many forms increases the options available for children to explore, create, and communicate and provides additional ways to interact with and experience literacy.
    • Classroom printers allow children to write for and reach a larger audience, and e-mail allows children to correspond with distant pen pals electronically. Both provide motivation for children to write well because they know that others will read their work.

Examples of student work

 

Go to examples of primary lessons from the National Educational Technology Standards (NETS)


Mathematics

  • Many classrooms have a daily calendar. Make a calendar on the computer as well to help children learn and understand how we organize information. Children's software may include a template to create calendars easily.
  • Children can take digital photos of completed tangram puzzles or patterns they have constructed. They can display the photos, add them to portfolios, or insert them into learning logs with explanations of how they solved the challenge. As children organize thoughts to express them clearly, they better understand their own thinking.
  • Build a graph with objects, such as shoes or candy wrappers, then transfer the information into a spreadsheet or graphing program. Having both the physical objects and the two-dimensional graph demonstrates that graphing is a way to show and see information mathematically.
Go to AskERIC Lesson Plans for a lesson on graphing that includes technology

More information on using projects in the curriculum.

Resources contains links to sites that provide additional information on using technology in lessons.


Back to Early Connections Home [ Child Care | Preschool | Kindergarten | Primary Grades | ]
bar