Updated: Jul 5, 2019
In this new digital age, one thing that has come to be of significant importance, even so far as to be considered one of the most important life skills — digital literacy. Digital literacy is defined (by Cornell University) to be the ability to find, evaluate, utilise, share and create content using information technologies and the Internet, amongst many other definitions. Digital literacy covers a wide scope of skills and technical know-how. As we all know, it is easier for children to pick up technical skills from a young age, allowing them to continuously develop such skills as they age. With that in mind, it is important for preschool educators to integrate digital literacy into the classroom.
More often than not, information on digital literacy only applies for older children. To some extent, we are stuck in the mindset that technology in the classroom should only be for children in primary or secondary school. However, as technology constantly advances, it is perhaps better for children to be exposed from preschool. The rationale is simple: it is much easier to be updated on the advances in technology than to play catch up with the aforementioned advances. Since technology advances step-by-step, gradually picking skills up is much easier than having to try and fill in the gaps in knowledge.
Integrating technology in the classroom can be daunting, purely because of the sheer amount of types of technology available. Needless to say, not every form of technology is suitable for young preschoolers. A suggestion on a form of technology can be used in a preschool setting is a tablet that allows preschoolers to draw and colour on. A drawing tablet is great because the colours are not limited to those of colour pencils, crayons or paint. Other than the millions of colours that are available, there are also many different types of pen strokes available in a drawing tablet. What this means for preschoolers is unlimited options to let their imaginations run wild. To add on to the infinite options, it is also much more eco-friendly and mess-free. As for preschool educators, other than a mess free environment, using a drawing tablet can also help to merge creativity, cognitive and motor development with technology.
Another form of technology that can be integrated into the classroom is video-playing devices such as computers or laptops. Storytelling is an integral part of learning amongst preschoolers. Video-playing devices can help to enhance storytelling by bringing pictures to life. Not only can this help to further engage children, it provides a visual stimulus, which in turn helps with imagination. On top of that, videos can also allow preschoolers to “go through” experiences that they may not be able to in real life, examples of which are watching the birth of a lion cub or learning that fishes swim.
Regardless of the benefits of incorporating technology in the classroom, we should always bear in mind that every child has different needs. While technology can do good for the classroom, we should not forget the benefits that can be reaped from a traditional classroom setting. Traditional learning methods, being more interactive and social in nature, can help some children to learn better. Some children may require that extra attention from a caregiver or teacher, that cannot be provided by technology. Technology also cannot replace the physical sensations of a classroom, such as sitting in class with everyone else, holding a pencil or a crayon, song and dance, etc.. Such physical sensations is important for a child to feel present in a space, which can help in their development. What is most important is to remember that every child learns differently and to help them reach their highest potential, we have to understand their needs. You can find the infographic for this article here.
School of Concepts understands the importance of integrating technology in our classroom, while maintaining the usage of traditional learning methods, depending on the needs of your child. Alongside our caring teachers, your child can discover the fun in learning through play and technology! You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us at 6909 1883.