Seeing how technology is becoming more readily available and accessible for kids these days, setting appropriate educational guidelines and expectations is as important as ever to ensure the best learning outcomes for our young learners. To help define how we ensure technology is used in the right way at SCIS, we asked Boramy Sun, Tech Integration Coordinator at SCIS, her answers to five key questions concerning technology’s role in Early Childhood Education (ECE):
1. How does SCIS view the role of technology in ECE?
SCIS believes in the use of technology when learning can be enhanced. We realize that with the prominent role that technology is playing in our everyday life, it can be a very powerful tool. However, the tool is only as good as the person using it. We spend time teaching students how to use the tools so that they can become independent and creative users. At the
Honqgiao ECE Campus, we are aware that children are at a stage of development where socialization is an important learning curve. We want to make sure we focus on the human interactions first, before deciding when and where technology will benefit the learning.
2. What types of goals are established for integrating technology into ECE?
First and foremost, we want to make sure that the technology that is being introduced is purposeful. We look at the units of inquiry and see what kinds of technology might prove helpful in giving students exposure to the topic or to dig deeper into a specific subject. Another goal for our technology integration is to enhance our school to home connection. Teachers are posting student work and images from around the classroom, so parents can get a glimpse of how students are thriving in their daily lives. For example, students in Kindergarten are working on independently posting their work onto digital portfolios using Seesaw. These glimpses give parents a talking point so they can ask their child at home. Consequently, it builds up their speaking and listening skills as well as their memory.
3. How do we define environmentally appropriate technology use at SCIS?
Technology in the classroom is more of an art than a science. There are no hard or fast rules but flexible guidelines and the faculty at the SCIS are redefining those guidelines every day. We take what we know about child development and apply it to technology. Would we be teaching children who are three addition? No, then we wouldn’t have them work on a math app. Another gauge on what is developmentally appropriate for children would be to ask if the child is just passively watching or absorbing or is the child actively engaged or interacting with the app? It’s not necessarily about what kind of technology children are using, but how they are using it. Children at the ECE campus are at an age where their creativity is unlimited and if they are using technology; the technology should reflect that.
4. Things to be mindful about when exposing children to technology?
The biggest things to be mindful about when exposing children to technology is appropriateness and how children are interacting with the technology. Things that are appropriate for us to see does not necessarily mean that children should be seeing them. We forget sometimes when we are watching something, even though they are not actively watching it, if children are there, they are absorbing something from it. Another thing to be mindful about technology is how children are interacting with technology. Are they just passively watching the video or are they creating something on an app? Are they always a passenger, just along for the ride or are they in the driver’s seat, taking charge and making decisions about what they are creating? It is always better for them to be engaged and interacting rather than passively participating.
5. How can parents support their child's technology use?
Parents play a key role in giving children the opportunity to learn and experience technology but just like everything else, moderation is key. Parents are modeling to their children how they should be using technology all the time. How parents use their technology teaches children how they should be using their technology. Do parents share their technology with each other, do they stay engaged with their surroundings or do they tune everything or everyone else out? Children might assume that’s how they will need to be when they get their own technological devices. When parents model what is appropriate and when it is appropriate to use technology, children will then learn what and when to use technology.