Tech Tips for Tots: Using Technology for Early Childhood Education

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Pre-kindergarten and early childhood education teachers, this one's for you.  Have you been looking for ways to infuse technology in your curriculum?  At the preschool level, it can be hard to be committed to finding a balance,  and looking for edutainment - not just entertainment.

Pre-kindergarten and early childhood education teachers, this one’s for you.  Have you been looking for ways to infuse technology in your curriculum?  At the preschool level, it can be hard to be committed to finding a balance,  and looking for edutainment – not just entertainment.

First, keep in mind that picture sharing and video chatting with loved ones is a stated exception to the screen time guidelines laid out by the American Academy of Pediatrics and World Health Organizations for preschoolers. It’s beneficial to help them get acclimated to talking to people online, and to give them the enrichment of a visit with a loved one. 

Moving forward from there, the United States Department of Educations’ four guiding principles for use of technology with early learners are as follows:

  • Technology—when used appropriately—can be a tool for learning.

    • Families and early educators should ask themselves following questions:

      • Content—How does this help children learn, engage, express, imagine, or explore?

      • Context—What kinds of social interactions (such as conversations with parents or peers) are happening before, during, and after the use of the technology? Does it complement, and not interrupt, children’s learning experiences and natural play patterns?

      • The individual child—What does this child need right now to enhance his or her growth and development? Is this technology an appropriate match with this child’s needs, abilities, interests, and development stage?

  • Technology should be used to increase access to learning opportunities for all children.

  • Technology may be used to strengthen relationships among parents, families, early educators, and young children.

  • Technology is more effective for learning when adults and peers interact or co-view with young children.

As you get started on devices with your preschoolers, always make sure that the gadgets and apps your little ones are using are safe and secure by previewing any technology or software you let them use.  Can they wander off into areas with potentially inappropriate content?  On shared devices, can they accidentally access your (or other student’s) private information?  Can they find themselves contacting people without supervision?

Another way to focus your kids on things they need to be learning is by concentrating on teaching basic computer skills.  Take a look at the kind of standards students will need to be attaining once they hit kindergarten, like simply touching and getting to know the function of different pieces of hardware.  You can also introduce preschoolers to many basic computer science concepts and skills without ever touching a device. Introducing them to the concept of passwords, understanding that certain activities have sequenced steps like computers have algorithms, and practicing working and playing with strangers respectfully can all be done without screens.

When you really get rolling, here are some tech ideas to inspire you:

  • Coding stories and games offer collaborative and playful ways for children to explore early coding on platforms such as  Scratch, Jr..

  • Take photos of block buildings or artwork that children have created. 

  • Video dramatic play to replay for children.

  • Record children’s stories about their drawings or their play, then make audio or video files to document their progress.

  • Ebooks and sites like Storyline Online let your children interact with books.

  • Starfall is a phonics-based website to strengthen reading skills. 

  • ABC Ya, Cookie and Fuel the Brain feature age-appropriate educational games and activities spanning all subject areas. 

  • Suessville, named for Dr. Suess, includes kid-friendly activities as well as information about the author’s books.

 
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Pre-kindergarten and early childhood education teachers, this one's for you.  Have you been looking for ways to infuse technology in your curriculum?  At the preschool level, it can be hard to be committed to finding a balance,  and looking for edutainment - not just entertainment.

 

Brittany Washburn

Brittany Washburn

Hi, I'm Brittany. I'm an educator obsessed with technology and passionate about teaching students 21st century skills. I'm so glad you came to visit my website.

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