Children can benefit greatly from access to the internet, educational games and educational apps on tablets. The most common way for technology to be implemented in classrooms is through computers and computer workstations, or through tablets such as the iPad. Computer desks for schools and mobile computer trolleys allow you to set up workstations that include a computer system, printer and extra storage in compact, mobile trolleys.
Technology and technological devices are now an integral part of everyone’s lives. If children are uneducated in the use of these devices then they are at a disadvantage as they grow up and move into adulthood. Implementing a teaching programme based around technology can help children to develop, as well as supporting their learning. However they have to be implemented in the correct way.
When implementing ICT into an early years’ classroom it is important to ensure that there is an education purpose behind everything you do. Letting children have free, unstructured access to devices such as computers and iPads can be a recipe for disaster.
Typical educational uses for ICT schemes in early years can include educational games that teach mathematics and English in a fun and engaging way, and teaching children how to use technology safely and effectively. Technology can offer a diverse range of learning styles which benefits younger children.
These are a few of the technological devices and systems that have been adopted in early learning environments and how they are beneficial to learning:
The internet has become an essential part of life all over the world. Almost any information a teacher or student could need can be found online at the click of a button. Although the knowledge is there for them to make use of, children should be taught early on about using the internet safely – information found online can be incorrect which would negatively impact on a child’s learning. It is important to supervise younger children as they access the internet. Blocks should also be implemented to stop children from accessing websites that may be inappropriate for their age group.
Internet access also offers a range of different learning methods that benefit children’s different learning styles. If they learn better through reading there is plenty of written information to be found online. Video and audio information can also be found for children who benefit most from watching or listening. Access to the internet means that children are no longer limited to reading from a textbook.
Even more recently than the internet, tablet devices have been adopted by pre-schools and schools. The introduction of these touch screen devices offer a level of interactivity in that they physically have to press buttons that are on screen and listen to the sounds produced – this is an engaging feature for young children.
A wide range of educational apps are available for just about any age range, skill level and subject. The use of tablet devices from a young age can help children to become better problem solvers and also better practical thinkers.
Tablets, depending on the model, also often have access to the internet and offer many of the features above such as multimedia methods of learning e.g. reading, listening and watching.
When using tablets into your early learning classroom, the apps you plan on using should be vetted before the children have access to them. This is so you can ensure that all the activities available are appropriate and will enhance the children’s learning experience.
An interactive whiteboard is primarily a presentation tool used in educational environments. The interactive elements of the whiteboard, such as being able to click buttons, draw and write all with just your finger or a stylus, help children to get involved with their learning.
Research indicates that different colours are beneficial to education (see our ‘How Colour Affects Learning’ article). Using colour for drawing/marking work/highlighting on the interactive whiteboard will have a positive effect on the child’s education.
Similarly to the internet and tablet devices, interactive whiteboards are great at accommodating different learning styles – tactile learners can touch and interact with the whiteboard, audio learners can listen to what’s being played and visual learners will benefit from the colours and videos that can be displayed on the whiteboard.
Another way technology can be useful in todays’ classrooms is to assist communication between parents and teachers. There is a range of software and apps that teachers can use to update parents on their children’s progress in real time. For example, if a child is practising balancing during play, the teacher can take a picture and send it along with a comment to the child’s parents.
This communication keeps parents in the know about what their children are doing and learning at school and reassures them of their progress. When parents and teachers communicate with one another they are able to better support the child in their learning. It helps to create an ideal learning environment both at home and at school.
There are a wide range of different software and apps available, so before implementing any system research which of these would most benefit your children and their parents.
Another way teachers can communicate with parents is through social media. Facebook or Twitter are the most popular social media channels for this. For safety reasons your social media account for the school should be made private with only parents having access to the content you post.
Social media is best used for updating the parents of every child in the class at once, as opposed to a single child’s parents. This save time and keeps parents in the loop. It is also useful for informing or reminding parents about forthcoming school events and activities.
Technology is becoming a more and more important aspect to education. It offers children with different methods of learning access to more information faster; provides an engaging, interactive way to learn and benefits children with learning disabilities. To ensure that technology is used to its full potential in the classroom, teachers need to be fully trained and supported in its use.