My passion for technology stems from the “they’re too little and couldn’t possibly handle it” attitude many early childhood professionals and administrators possess. Nothing gets me more fired-up than somebody accusing young children of being “too little” to do something; it usually challenges me to prove them wrong. There are also those who feel that technology is detrimental to young children and not appropriate for classroom use.
I invite skeptics to think about the following quote and how it relates to technology in the classroom:
We are educating today’s children for tomorrow’s world.
According to research, more than half of the jobs that will be available when our students graduate from high school don’t even exist today; therefore we are preparing them for a future that is completely unknown. What we do know is that technology will play a huge part in the future work force; if we aren’t using this technology in our classrooms we are doing a disservice to our students.
When it comes to using technology to enhance instruction and increase learning it’s all about how teachers use the technology available to them. If a teacher uses a projector to simply stream video from the internet as a time-filler or babysitter then that is not enhancing instruction or improving student learning. On the other hand, if a teacher uses the projector to stream the Polar Bear cam from the San Diego Zoo during a unit on hibernation or polar life and actually comments and points out things as the students interact with what they are seeing then that is enhancing instruction and increasing student learning.
Teachers can use technology to enhance whatever subjects they are teaching. For example, you can teach your students how to sort by placing manipulatives under the document camera and inviting students up to sort them for the class. You are still teaching your target concept according to the state standards but you are using technology to enhance your lesson by projecting it on the large screen and you are increasing student learning because the students can see and better understand the concept you are trying to teach.
I use the following forms of technology in my classroom on a daily basis:
- Document Camera
- Interactive Whiteboard (Promethean)
- Power Point & Photo Story
- Flip Video
- Many Web 2.0 applications
All forms of technology listed above are used to enhance instruction, not replace it. I haven’t replaced my developmental centers with technology, but I do use technology to enhance developmental centers by incorporating iPods as listening centers and creating Photo Stories that I place on our student computers to support concepts we are learning in class.
What forms of technology do you use in your classroom?
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Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons