How often have we seen children being pushed in their buggies with an iPad attached or sitting at a restaurant table watching their favourite show on the iPad?
We live in a Digital Age where we are surrounded by technology and it often makes you wonder where to draw the line with these gadgets.
There have been times as a frustrated mum when I tell my boys they need to give their eyes a rest, on the other hand all their homework and studying requires them to use the computer. I am actually amazed at all the things they learn from tutoring online to tutorials on how to wear a neck tie!
Research in Early Childhood Education has shown children exhibit a diversity of learning styles and when used appropriately, technology integrated into a curriculum enhances learning. It is also a very powerful tool for children with learning disabilities. There is the fear of our child becoming anti social and compromising on physical activity and outdoor exploration. However, it is important to understand the use of technology is not the ultimate goal but a tool to develop their goals.
We have successfully used Smartboards at the preschool age as an extension to our curriculum. Children have been able to explore our topic of animals, science and nature using clips and videos from the Discovery Channel and National Geographic.
We have also integrated iPads in the classroom to further enhance our learning of Phonics, Numbers, Math, Reading, Art. There are an endless number of apps, some are free and some require purchasing. Below is list of a few tried and tested ones.
As important as it is for us to be teaching children the skills that they are going to need to function in our computer based society, even more important is making sure that we are not being excessive. Experts say 30-40 mins per day is sufficient time for their little minds to explore. Just remember the focus on using technology should be to supplement learning and not to be consumed by it!