In today’s culture, technology has become more and more prominent. Technology can be an important part of the preschool classroom for young children, too.
Make technology a part of your classroom. If you are using tablets or computers as part of your learning environment, incorporate these items into the flow of your day. Use furniture and equipment designed for technology and for young children. Tech tools should be a part of your overall teaching strategy. Allow children to make choices—choosing to use them or not use them—just like you do with other teaching tools (blocks, art materials, puzzles, etc.).
How to Use Technology in the Preschool Classroom
Develop skills for using technology. Teach children how to turn on and off the CD player or MP3 player; small colored stickers, green for ON and red for OFF, can help children know which buttons to press. Set up a specific location for headphones and teach children to return their headphones when they are done. Help kids become as self-sufficient as possible in using all the resources (including technology) in your classroom. Kids will become more confident and competent…and your day will run more smoothly (since you will not need to do these things for the children).
Use your digital camera or smart phone to make a visual schedule. Photograph children doing different activities throughout the day. Print the photos and post them for children to see. Clip on the photo that represents what you are doing at the moment. Move the clip throughout the day so children can follow the flow of the day. This schedule can help children develop understandings about time as well as help them develop self-regulation skills. Photos of your classroom will make the schedule more meaningful to children than generic photos of circle time, center time, meal time, and outdoor time.
Record children telling stories about their drawings or block structures. Make audio recordings or videos using tablets, smart phones, or digital recorders. Encouraging children to talk about their work builds thinking skills and creativity. Children can also build vocabulary and communication skills as they talk about what they have done.
Use photos and videos as a part of your documentation and assessment of learning and development. Provide cameras or tablets for kids and teachers to use. Photograph the steps of a project or the process of creating. These photos and videos can be shared with parents or kept as records of the child’s learning.
Look for ways to use technology in conjunction with non-tech resources. Place audio books in your classroom library. Using these books can help build recall skills and retelling skills. Children will also begin to understand concepts of print as they use books with CDs. They can begin to connect the printed word and the spoken word (an important concept for phonics and reading).
Make your own recorded books by videoing the book while you read it aloud. Kids can watch the video of the book and hear you reading it. Place the book with the video so children can turn pages of the book with the video.
Use music and sound CDs to teach concepts. (This is technology, too!) Sound CDs help children develop auditory discrimination and listening skills, precursors to phonological awareness (and foundational reading skills). Music and movement CDs helps kids listen and move. Depending on what songs you are using, children can also develop skills related to colors, numbers, and letters.
Technology is more than just sitting at a tablet or computer and playing a game. You can integrate technology into the fabric of your early childhood classroom. What technology do you use? How have you used technology to enhance the learning experiences of your children?