Each time professors ask us (university students) to use information and communications technologies in our classes in the futur, I only have a class of high school students in mind. What about preschool students? With the technologies taking progressively more place into our lives, it has become impossible not to use it. Even young children seem to be quite competent with those new technologies. Should we, as teachers, embrace those technologies and use it with young learners, or try to stick with the traditional way of teaching? I did, of course, a bit of research and the articles I found were for the use of those technologies. Let’s see why.
First, it is quite understandable to know that people can be terrified at the idea of using technologies, such as iPads and SmartBoard, with young children. I even tell myself “if they could do it before without technology, why do we have to use it?” However, a research mentioned in Ann S. Epstein‘s article state that “Children spend an average of seven hours a day using screen media, including one to two hours a day for those under age two. Ninety percent of parents report that children below age two watch some form of electronic media.” According to this fact, young children actually know how these technologies work. Why prevent them of doing so? They will sooner or later have to use it anyway. In that case, it is us, teachers that should give them the opportunity to learn to control it as soon as possible. Teachers must teach them that people have to be careful when it comes to share information, because it can end up in wrong hands and have negative effects on the people’s life.
In an other article, where there were questions asked to Dr. Bruce D. Perry about technologies in early childhood classrooms, there is a answer that can relate to my previous point. He said: “I think the difference between computers and television is that television tends to be quite passive.” He continued by saying that using technologies, such as computers, allows children learn to interact with the objects on the screen nearly as much as they would with real life objects. Children are impressive learners, but they learn by doing. Which is why computers are better tools than television. As any game, if they like what they are doing, they can repeat it as much as they want.
At this point in their life, children are curious about the world and want to know as much as they can. They are also incredibly creative when it comes to use these notions. As mentioned on Naeyc, they improve their ability to communicate and create by using different kind of media, such as art and writting. Letting them use new technologies would be another way for them to do so. The only thing that teachers have to pay attention to, according to is choosing the appropriate activities that match their learning level.
However, Sarah Jackson discussed in her article the fact that it is sometimes hard, for teachers and parents who are not really comfortable with technology, to find effective games and activities on the web. She answered this issue by presenting a website that was created for teachers and parents that is full of these. Interrestingly enough, using these kind of exercises on the web can help the children improve their literacy and their learning in general from birth to 5 years old.
Therefore, with the research that I made, I believe that we (teachers) should embrace technology and use it even with preschoolers. First, because it is our job to guide them through their learning of technology and how to use it appropriately, since they will have to use it later on in life. Second, children learn by doing and using technology is another way of having them learn while doing. It is nearly impossible to have the young students sit and learn what the teacher is doing, they have to be moving. Third, they are at this point in their life where they are trying to communicate through different kind of media using their creative side and using technology would simply be another way of communicating. Finally, it is genuinely easy to use and to administer to the young children, since there are tons of application available for each age level.