In today’s world, technology is quickly becoming a staple of modern early childhood education. When used correctly, technology is a valuable tool in child development, and helps preschool-age children have fun while they learn. However, when used the wrong way, it can become a distraction, absorbing time each day that could be used more productively.
Buckleitner’s Guide to Using Tablets With Young Children is a wonderful source of information on how to effectively use technology in your classroom. Tablets are much more than their name suggests. As Dr. Warren Buckleitner states, tablets can “also be a movie camera, video game, artist’s easel, or a million-channel TV.” They can also be used to provide children with extra help so that they may breakdown difficult concepts on their own, at a comfortable speed. They can function as a supplement to your lessons. The possibilities for tablet usage in the classroom are endless.
Tablets are a powerful educational tool, but, because they can also be used ineffectively, many teachers are unsure of how to best integrate tablets into their classrooms. Buckleitner provides various strategies and advice on how to best implement technology into their lessons.
Here are a few tips on how to utilize technology in your early education classroom.
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Considerations When Choosing Apps
When choosing which programs you want children to use, you will juggle many competing factors. As you evaluate an app, you will want to consider whether it is easy to use and at the same time provides continual challenges for the child using it. As you try out the program yourself, consider whether the app has a responsive interface that will put the child in control and make it easy for the child to exit the activity when desired.
Here are some other factors to look for:
- Can you tailor the app to a specific child?
- Are there multiple levels that provide increasing challenges”
- Is the cost affordable?
- Can you adjust the volume or background music?
- If you take pictures of make drawings, can you save your work?
- Can children play in pairs or teams?
Technology as a Learning Tool
Given these different theory-driven views that can help determine the appropriate use or misuse of technology, keep in mind the following points:
- Technology is powerful and has great potential for good or bad influences. TVs, computers, cameras, phones, and timers of yesteryear have converged into one pocket-sized device.
- Every child is unique. Children vary greatly by age, gender, and genetic makeup. Fostering happy, healthy children is an art; your chances of success will improve if you understand the technology and how children change as they grow.
- Every learning and play setting is unique. Schools and homes, and parenting and teaching styles are unique cultural artifacts. No two are the same. This individuality makes it difficult to make app recommendations. The best app selections are made by adults who know the child.