The children of today are growing up in a different
time than their parents and teachers. How are we, as adults, to successfully connect and engage with children who were using touch screens independently by the time they were a year old? (We call these children "digital natives.") The debate about how to best use technology in early childhood - or if it should be used at all - is ongoing.
If teachers are working to connect children's school learning with their home learning (which is best practice), they should be using technology in their classrooms productively. For most young children today, technology such as televisions, computers, cameras, and cell phones are a regular part of the day at home. Teachers should use children's familiarity with these things to their advantage. Technology is a natural link to literacy. It can be used in so many ways to promote literacy development in school, and teachers who use technology activities should provide information to families about how technology is used in school and how this can be carried into their home environments.
Technology can be incorporated in early education in far more meaningful ways than simple letter recognition and vocabulary games. Children can be asked to write or draw about their favorite TV show or video game. This becomes an interactive literacy activity as children create their own representation of a game or show through drawing and talking. This activity is focused on the process rather than the product, as children may represent actions in their mark-making. (Tip: Try to use the phrase, "Tell me about what you are doing/drawing/writing" rather than "What are you drawing?") Teachers can create classroom websites or blogs to which children are regular contributors. Families can be invited to post with their children, creating an extension of the classroom community. Also, teachers can bring technology into the classroom for children to use in relation to academics, as well as for free choice time. If a school or classroom is able to have portable technology of their own, they can set them up with multiple appropriate applications for use at certain times, giving children freedom to explore these new technology in a safe environment.
A is for Avatar: Young Children in Literacy. 2.0 Worlds and Literacy in 1.0 Schools. - by Karen Wohlwend