Teaching With Technology: Learning-With Tech!
Computers, Internet services, and software can enhance the environment you prepare for the young learners in your program
- Grades: PreK–K
BACK IN THE "OLDEN DAYS," GETTING READY FOR school meant dusting off erasers. Today, it means charging batteries in your digital camera and tidying your hard drive. To see how teachers are using technology to set the stage for learning, I posted the question on the NAEYC Technology Forum Listserve. Here's what I learned:
Be a technology role model
Gail Lovely, an early childhood consultant, said, "If you want children to think of the Internet as a tool for learning, USE it as a tool for learning. When a student asks you a tough question like 'How deep is a tree's bark?'-go online and find an answer either with the student or share the answer later with the 'bibliography' ('I got this from a tree doctor on the Internet')."
Gretchen White Conway, Even Start early childhood coordinator in Lenior, North Carolina, writes, "Our early childhood teachers use digital cameras for everything, including:
- making toy shelf labels (snap a picture of the toy, print it on paper, and put it directly on the shelf with clear contact paper).
- making name rings (these are pictures of each child with their names so they can write them by copying them from the card. All the children's picture cards are on a small ring by the art center and another at the writing table)
- illustrating the word wall (for making child-generated words with photos of meaningful items) flannel board activities (matching children's pictures to their names)
- alternate assessments (such as documentation of a project the children have been involved in)
- photo journals (of the new playground construction or field trip souvenirs)
- documenting parent volunteers as they work in the classroom, so the children know what their parents do when they're at the school
- class pictures, graduation pictures, holiday pictures
Brace Bertan, owner, COMPUTERTOTS & Computer Explorers in Tampa Bay, writes, "I use a graphics program such as Skidoodle (1997, KBGear) or KidPix (2002, Brederbund) to introduce the concept of stamping clipart onto a page. Then we transfer that skill to an Internet page editor such as Web Workshop (1996, Sunburst). The children now see a web page as a picture with photos, clipart, or backgrounds stamped on it. Finally, they learn that the computer can change a picture or word into a link to a new page. Now, when looking at a web page, the children view graphics in a much more sophisticated way."
Early Connections www.netc.org/earlyconnections/index.html
From the Northwest Educational Technology Consortium comes a site with generic advice on using computers in a wide variety of early childhood settings.
The NAEYC Technology & Young Children Interest Forum www.techandyoungchildren.org
This is the NAEYC's site containing advice on how to lead discussions, share research and information, and demonstrate best practices regarding technology so it can be used to benefit children aged birth through eight years. The forum "meets" online using the ECETECH-L LIST-SERV. Discussions range from development of caucus projects to consideration of topics relating to technology and young children. To join, email ECETECH-L@LISTSERV.UIUC.EDU. In the body of the message, type: Subscribe ECETECH-L (your name).