What does appropriate technology use look like in an early childhood classroom?
Follow these do's and don'ts from Fran Simon and Karen Nemeth, authors of Digital Decisions: Choosing the Right Technology Tools for Early Childhood Education, and you are off to a great start!
Be intentional with your technology practices. Incorporate technology into your weekly, monthly, and yearly planning for the group and for individual children.
Don't... Put technology devices out without planning for their use.
Infuse technology and digital devices into many interest areas in the classroom and offer them as choices with clear objectives.
Don't... Only use technology in the "Computer Center" or computer lab.
Use digital tools as options when they make experiences more meaningful or efficient and add value to learning.
Don't... Offer "computer time" only as an "edutainment" option during choice time or small-group time.
Use software and apps that help children meet curriculum learning objectives, meet program and state standards, and lead to deeper learning experiences.
Don't... Offer technology experiences as rewards or for entertainment purposes.
Select an array of devices, software, and apps that encourage creative thinking and offer multiple divergent learning paths.
Don't... Select software that is only designed to entertain or provide didactic instruction on discrete basic skills or computer skills.
Balance teacher-facilitated technology activities with those that are child-initiated and independent. Balance child-initiated independent technology experiences with those that involve small and large groups and collaboration.
Don't... Only allow children to use technology with a teacher in instructional experiences, and never allow independent exploration.
Develop systems in your classroom to track children's use of technology to ensure they are spending appropriate amounts of time engaging in a range of choices.
Don't... Think of technology experiences as "technology for technology's sake." In other words, don't put out the devices and let children explore them without capturing vital information.
Feel competent and confident when it comes to choosing and implementing the most appropriate technology tools for your early childhood classroom!
For more guidance in choosing and implementing the right technology tools in an early childhood classroom, check out Digital Decisions by Fran Simon and Karen Nemeth (available in paperback and e-book formats).
Praise for Digital Decisions:
"Digital Decisions will open your eyes and expand your awareness of how technology fits into a purposefully planned, child-centered classroom." –Paula Jorde Bloom, Michael W. Louis Endowed Chair, McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership
"Simon and Nemeth...transform the debate from defining technology as good or bad; rather, showing us how to use technology actively and interactively with good active and interactive early childhood programs." –Ellen Galinsky, Author, Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs