Role of Technology in Preschool Learning
In our last blog we spoke about the importance of preschool education and the importance media balance in the life of early learners. Building upon the same subjects we would like to today discuss the ideas around the support, we as parents and educators can provide to our children while online learning becomes a new reality.
Today’s preschoolers are “digital natives." They have been raised in and with technology to the extent that they are familiar with it from a very early age. Hand a young child a smartphone and before long he or she is navigating to their favourite app or video calling your most recent contact. It also isn’t uncommon for children to teach the adults in their lives how to work the latest piece of technological wizardry.
The internet is unparalleled as a tool for accessing knowledge, making its value for education quite incredible. While we all acknowledge this fact, it is imperative that we ensure that our children access the Internet in a safe, disciplined and controlled environment.
When it comes to the use of technology for learning, however, a common parental concern is, “My child receives too much media exposure at home. Why would I want it at school?” While that may be the case, when technology is used in specific and focused ways it can support and achieve early childhood education and preschool learning goals. Implementing technology in tandem with traditional activities like outdoor play and tactile learning (such as wooden blocks and sensory bins) allow more opportunities for students of varying ages and abilities to engage, communicate, and explore.
Deliberate handling of technology benefits students today by building community, developing vital math and literacy skills, expanding imagination, promoting creativity, and fostering engagement.
A student’s access to education technology should neither harm nor interfere with their social development. Instead, technology in early childhood learning should support collaborative environments and, therefore, enrich student’s interactions with their peers. Additionally, teachers need to understand and facilitate when it's appropriate to incorporate technology into an early learner’s routine in order to avoid the negative outcomes of high media exposure. As educators, we must use our professional judgement and incorporate technology in order to enhance peer-to-peer interactions.
Educators should use technology where students can actively experience learning together, whether it’s interacting with themselves or their teachers. According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children report outlining best classroom practices, “effective technology tools connect on-screen and offscreen activities with an emphasis on co-viewing and co-participation between adults and children and children and their peers.
Lastly, technology provides an optimal opportunity to strengthen connections with parents and assist how educators share information with them. NAEYC recommends “teachers use digital portfolios that include photographs as well as audio and video recordings to document, archive, and share a child’s accomplishments and developmental progression with families in face-to-face conferences or through communication and social media tools.” Consequently, technology will help parents feel connected to their children’s learning development and growth. By developing a strong relationship with parents online, educators can reassure reluctant parents that technology is enhancing their child’s formative education.
Develop Math and Literacy Skills
In order to support students’ math and literacy skills, educators should select an interactive software solution that allows them to create engaging, customisable lessons and nurtures the learning development of early learners. This software should work with both the touchscreen and the student’s personal device. Teachers should not have to worry about lost letter tiles or paper cut-outs of Word Work, or misplacing a manipulative that teaches math and counting skills. There should be a whole array of built-in, ready-made tools, as well as the ability to customise educational content.
While traditional stationary methods can delay the learning process and completely disengage students from the subject, high-quality interactive software solutions can help accelerate a student’s early math and literacy skills. The real-time, collaborative nature of the software allows students to connect with the content instantly and permits teachers to identify and respond to student mistakes and successes almost immediately.
Preschool and early learning is all about discovery, exploration and imaginative play. Through interactive learning, the farthest reaches of the world, indeed, the galaxy -- become alive with crisp sounds, colourful images, and real-time video. For instance, they can take a “jungle safari” at recess and continue it in high definition back inside the classroom by visiting live webcam websites such as the one provided by the San Diego Zoo. Or, they can do a flyby of Pluto and participate in a video chat with experts in the field.
Educators at Little Brooks have always been at the forefront of embracing technology in learning and parents relations. Having classes equipped with iPads and cutting edge audio visual solutions to integrating Augmented Reality into the day to day learning, to experience the world from the safety of a classroom, Little Brooks has always been pushing boundaries and exploring new ways for todays young learners. Little Brooks has long adopted technology based solutions to improve the overall information sharing and parent communication management.
We at Little Brooks believe, technology used in disciplined and controlled manner can really open the minds of young learners to the wonders of the world. The app and digital learning platforms whether used in class, or remotely are only an extension of overall learning journeys and experience our thousand of children and parents have come to expect, when they associate with Little Brooks Education.
Little Brooks Online is not only a e-learning platform, but a virtual community of parents with similar interests, concerns and questions. To address these Little Brooks Online is regularly creating blogs relating to learning during this difficult times. We will be shortly be launching expert webinars dealing with questions, concerns and interests which are common to our community of parents.
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