Children today are born in an era where technology is part of everyday life. They are not fearful of any form of technical equipment and willingly use it when they can. It is therefore important to show them how to use the extensive range of equipment available, but not what to do with it. Allowing students to experiment has a strong impact on improving their learning, cognitive development and readiness to learn. Through technology they make good gains in their problem solving, conceptual skills and social interaction.
Begin with simple brick-type components that join together. Show students how to turn corners and stagger the bricks to build upwards. Once their fine motor skills are coping with this, provide problems for them to solve. These might include building a cave for a bear or a hut for a rabbit or a boat for a fisherman. The outcome is not important, but the thinking skills used through the process are. Ensure students work in pairs only, so they learn to listen to each other’s ideas and collaborate. In larger groups, some children disengage and little learning takes place.
Provide special equipment including; scissors, cello tape dispenser, glue, felt pens, paper and a selection of small cardboard boxes, small pieces of fabric and plastic containers. Once again find a problem that needs to be solved. An example might be that one of the classroom toys has nowhere to sleep at night when everyone has gone home. He has always wanted a bedroom and his own bed. Allow the students the freedom to solve this issue and only offer support with manipulative skills. Allow them complete ownership of their ideas and suggestions. Support discussions and evaluations once the task is complete.
Another important aspect of technology focuses around computers, I-Pads and Smart-phones. Setting up situations whereby students have to communicate with each other using pretend phones, helps them to become personally familiar with the apparatus as well as encouraging focused talk. It is useful, teaching students how to use digital cameras, so they can pictorially record important events or pieces of work. Show them how to record conversations, and how to find images related to the curriculum.
Make good use of computers by having interactive, fun games available to support early Mathematics and reading/language development. Allow them to experiment and develop their fine motor skills to move the cursor to a specific target on the screen. Show them the differences between left and right clicks with the mouse, and the impact of power keys including, enter, escape, delete, and space bar. Teach them the range of vocabulary they need in order to use the equipment, such as internet, browser, computer, keyboard, hardware, software, digital, printer, battery. Show them where numbers are on the keyboard and how to find the letters in their name. Make sure they work in pairs, supporting each other, socialising together and building relationships. These activities enhance learning.
The use of technology has many positive effects. It improves thinking skills, cognitive development, willingness to learn and visual attention. Students make good gains in reasoning and problem solving and listening skills. They have opportunities to experience situations beyond their everyday life, such as life under the sea, people from the past or places far away. It is therefore essential for teachers to carefully plan and include activities to promote technology every day.
- Consider ways to include technology in the daily plan.
- Provide a good range of everyday materials for students to use
- Make sure tools are readily accessible and students know how to use them safely.
- Teach students the skills and vocabulary they need to be productive and enjoy activities to the full.
- Allow students to experiment with technical equipment.
By: Gianna Ulyatt