Education Technology

Technology's enabling role in the early childhood classroom

Vinay K Singh
Technology's enabling role in the early childhood classroom

EdTech is the favourite buzzword among education leaders today. Technology is often perceived as the panacea that will most quickly transform outcomes for millions of children and make the lives of teachers simpler. But is technology in the preschool really the solution that’s needed?

Research shows that children in the age group 3-6 years learn best through social interactions, through play, and by engaging with the environment. To develop essential socio-emotional skills, teachers need to interact with children in a fundamentally different way and create a learning environment where the child feels safe to take risks. The human elements of education cannot be quite replicated by technology in the classroom.

However, technology can play an enabling role by providing the teacher and preschools with tools and resources to facilitate their teaching, schedules and communications.

A preschool teacher has to juggle with many tasks throughout the day - communicating with parents, reading to the class, tracking student progress, providing handwriting practice, quizzing students on the basics, watching videos, phonics… the list is almost endless. From staying organized to making use of classroom technology, here’s our guide to using education technology for preschool teachers:

Provide faster feedback to parents:

SeeSaw app helps teachers document and share their students’ learning activities with families, who can immediately know all about their child’s school day.

https://web.seesaw.me/

Free cloud storage services like Google Drive, OneDrive and Box.com are great for sharing photos and files with fellow teachers and families, keeping documents in sync between all of your devices, and so much more. These allow you to store and share 5-10 GB of files from the device of your choice.

Visit https://drive.google.com or https://onedrive.live.com to learn more or sign-up for a free cloud storage account. Android and iOS mobile apps are also available.

myly helps Schools to manage their Academics, Administration & Communication.

https://www.mylyapp.com/

ClassBoard allows teachers to quickly and easily share images, videos and documents, giving parents a view of their child’s education as it happens.

http://www.classboard.school/

Homeroom is an easy way to share what's happening in the classroom with students' parents. Upload class or school photos safely to private classroom albums only parents and teachers can see, away from social media and the internet.

https://gethomeroom.com

Use of multimedia and technology to expand students’ learning:

SafeShare.TV is a student-friendly filter that removes the offensive elements sometimes surrounding YouTube clips.

https://safeshare.tv/

AppyStore is an app with videos and curated content designed for children up to eight years of age.

http://www.appystore.in

Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-based digital content for K-12 with award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia content, professional development, and the largest professional learning community of its kind.

http://www.discoveryeducation.com/

Karadi Path is a spinoff of Karadi Tales, which provides tailor-made modules that use movement, songs, and stories for language learning. It uses video and audio recordings to create an immersive classroom environment where children pick up the language through listening accompanied by a teacher as a facilitator.

http://www.karadipath.com/

Disney Story Central is a digital library filled with hundreds of reading adventures, instantly connecting the child to his beloved Disney and Pixar characters.

https://disneystorycentral.com/

Tinkerlab provides easy and actionable ways to support your child’s creative journey using fun experiments and innovative art activities.

https://tinkerlab.com

Networking and professional development:

Early Childhood Investigations is an ongoing series of conference-quality free webinars for Early Childhood educators.

https://www.earlychildhoodwebinars.com/

The TEC Center at Erikson Institute supports Early Childhood educators to make informed decisions about the appropriate use of technology with children from birth to age 8. The carefully selected resources and real-world examples provided by the Center strengthen preschool educators’ digital literacy and their ability to select, use, integrate, and evaluate technology in the classroom and other Early Childhood settings.

http://teccenter.erikson.edu/category/early_childhood_educators/

Early Childhood Teacher’s blog is an educational blog for parents and teachers focused on promoting the social, emotional, and academic growth of the Early Childhood learner.

http://www.earlychildhoodteacher.org/blog/

Teachertube is a site to provide anytime, anywhere professional development with teachers teaching teachers.

http://www.teachertube.com/

Twitter can serve as an excellent professional learning network (PLN) that helps you step outside of their classrooms and schools. Collaborate and discuss with other Early Childhood educators to solve problems, share, and refine your teaching practice. #preschool, #prek, #earlychildhood, #preschoolteacher, #kinderchat are a few popular hashtags to follow for updates and information on Early Childhood, kindergarten and young children.

https://twitter.com/

Pinterest is like an online pinboard—mostly for collecting visual pieces of multimedia (mostly images). Pinterest is an important venue for professional development—a place to find creative lesson plans, classroom decorations and teaching advice.

https://pinterest.com

The age old debate about whether technology in the preschool is good or bad is ongoing; however it’s time to talk about how Early Childhood educators can make developmentally appropriate decisions about educational technology on behalf of children and parents in Early Childhood programs.

This story featured in our February 2018 issue (Early Childhood Education Special).

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