As parents, all of us have fought the battle with our kids as they are absorbed into a video game or movie on an iPad, tablet or smartphone. We’ve had a better chance of getting the attention of Tom Cruise walking the red carpet than our kids.
Today, it’s common for two-year-olds to be using iPads, elementary schoolers hooked up to video games, and we all suffer (or live with) the challenge of prying your middle-schooler away from the computer long enough to eat a decent meal…
Technology is everywhere and its draw on kids is obvious, but is technology helping our kids learn?
Technology is becoming more social, adaptive, and customized, and as a result, it can be a fantastic teaching tool. That stated, as parents, we need to establish boundaries.
Today, software is connecting kids to online learning communities, tracking kids’ progress through lessons and games, and customizing each students’ experience.
By the time your child is in elementary school, they will probably well-versed in technology.
Learning with Technology at School
Schools are investing more and more in technology. Whether your child’s class uses an interactive Smartboard, laptops, or another device, here are three ways to make sure that technology is used effectively.
Young children love playing with technology, from iPads to digital cameras. What do early childhood practitioners – and parents, too – need to think about before handing kids these gadgets?
Let’s start at the beginning: what is technology in early childhood?
Technology can be as simple as a camera, audio recorder, music player, TV, DVD player, or more recent technology like iPads, tablets, and smartphones used in child care centers, classrooms, or at home.
More than once, I’ve had teachers tell me, “I don’t do technology.” I ask them if they’ve ever taken a digital photo of their students, played a record, tape, or DVD, or give kids headphones to listen to a story.
Teachers have always used technology. The difference is that now teachers are using really powerful tools like iPads and iPhones in their personal and professional lives.
Technology is just a tool.
It shouldn’t be used in classrooms or child care centers because it’s cool, but because teachers can do activities that support the healthy development of children.
Teachers are using digital cameras – a less flashy technology than iPads – in really creative ways to engage children in learning. That may be all they need.
At the same time, teachers need to be able to integrate technology into the classroom or child care center as a social justice matter.
We can’t assume that all children have technology at home.
A lack of exposure could widen the digital divide – that is, the gap between those with and without access to digital technology – and limit some children’s school readiness and early success.
Just as all children need to learn how to handle a book in early literacy, they need to be taught how to use technology, including how to open it, how it works, and how to take care of it.
Experts worry that technology is bad for children.
There are serious concerns about children spending too much time in front of screens, especially given the many screens in children’s lives.
Today, very young children are sitting in front of TVs, playing on iPads and iPhones, and watching their parents take photos on a digital camera, which has its own screen.