How Beneficial are ICTs within Early Childhood Classroom

As I shared in an earlier post, I have been working with young children for over 12 years. When first starting out, there was very little access to digital technologies within the learning environment. All observations were hand written and children’s learning was glued into a scrapbook. Photos were taken on camera’s requiring film and if we wanted to learn something new we had to read a book or watch a video tape!

Today, we type and email documentation of children’s learning directly to families, use I-pads and digital camera’s to take photos and video’s to capture the children’s learning and regularly use I-pads with the children to search for new ideas and information, watch YouTube clips, listen to music and play educational games via I-pads.

Advances in ICT have allowed us, as educators to become more time efficient and sustainable, through the ability to type and email children’s learning to families rather then spend endless hours writing observations, as well as cutting back on using countless numbers of glue sticks and scrap books. We also use social media and apps including Pinterest to further our own knowledge and skills for developing meaningful and challenging experiences, as well as engage with other educators from around the country. ICT has also allowed us to build children’s knowledge and skills through the use of searching for information that we as educators may not know the answers to, watch video’s on topics and interests, and through the use of educational apps that aid children in their learning, such as reading, sounds and numeracy.

When reading fellow students blog, I felt this blog, strongly resonated with Faith’s blog post where she discussed how she used ICT on a previous prac, to help students who were struggling to understand phonics. Through the use of digital technologies, Faith was able to provide the students an alternative method of learning, which resulted in an improvement from all of the students. I too regularly use I-pads within my setting, in order to provide children with an alternative method of learning, to better engage students in a learning experience, to extend children’s knowledge and to help children who are having difficulties grasping a concept or have different learning styles.

This then lead me to start thinking if there are any negatives to using ICT in Early Childhood settings and what they maybe. After searching the internet, I came across an interesting article titled “Is Technology Damaging our Children’s Speech and Language Skills?”. This article discusses the extra time spent on ICT devices including I-pads, take away time young children spend playing and having relationships/ conversations with people, which is how a child learns how to speak.  It states that children are missing out on rich learning opportunities due to mostly I-pads, video games and television.

This article made me more aware and conscious of how I will integrate ICT into the classroom. It is clear that ICT has many benefits within an educational setting, as they can be engaging, informative, fun, educational as well as cater for children with different learning styles. But it also clear that some young children could be spending more time engaging with digital devices then they are having interactive relationships/ conversations with people. Therefore, I will ensure that I am very mindful of the amount of time my students are engaging with digital technologies and ensure there is a healthy balance of ICT and non-ICT experiences.

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