With the rise of technology in today’s world, it’s no surprise that it is has made its way into the world of early childhood education.
Teachers must work to find a balance between allowing children to explore and use their imagination away from technology, but also adapting to it to develop skills they’ll need in the future. Kids’ educators around the country are turning to these top trends to do so:
Video chat tools such as Skype and Google Hangouts have transformed early childhood education. Kids in classrooms across the world are using these tools to connect to each other, share information and materials, and learn about kids in other parts of the world. Although Skype and Google Hangouts aren’t made specifically for education, there are other tools, such as ePals Global Community, that are designed just for this purpose.
Video chats and virtual collaboration are changing education for special needs children as well with the introduction of the virtual classroom. These students now are connected face-to-face with teachers to receive individualized help that greatly benefits them throughout their childhood.
Teachers no longer have to feel limited in what they can provide when it comes to children’s books, since there are countless e-books available. Not only do these e-books take up much less space, since they’re accessed through a digital device, but they’re also less expensive, so teachers don’t have to fear budget cutbacks. A great source of kid-friendly e-books is Disney Story Central, where teachers can access dozens of books for the classroom right at their fingertips.
Getting Parents Involved
Even if parents have to work while their children are at school, new technology allows teachers to involve parents in their child’s early education. Apps such as Class Dojo give teachers the opportunity to quickly and privately message parents, share photos or videos from the classroom, or send important updates. Teachers can also use apps like Class Dojo to track kids’ classroom behavior and keep busy parents informed. The app gives teachers the power to award points to students who have behaved well and then notify their parents so they can receive recognition at home as well. The best part? Class Dojo has vowed to always be free for teachers!
Foster Kids’ Imagination
Although many people believe that technology may interfere with a child’s ability to express their creativity and use their imagination, some tools are actually encouraging kids to exercise these skills. One of these tools is Storybird, an app that allows kids to create their own stories complete with illustrations. Not only does this app help kids enhance their reading and writing skills, but it also engages their creativity, forcing them to think of unique storylines and find pictures that match their words. Over the course of a year, teachers can work together with students in the classroom to create a library of e-books written and illustrated by them! Over 400,000 teachers and 5 million students currently use Storybird, and this number is expected to grow as technology continues to become more important in early childhood education.
Some schools allow children to bring their own tablets to the classroom, while others provide the devices to each student. Either way, the use of tablet apps to enhance early childhood education has increased over the last few years. There are hundreds of free apps designed for use in the classroom, but some kid-friendly favorites include ABCya, created to help kids develop language skills, SpellingCity, which features interactive spelling and word association games, and Stack the States, a fun trivia game. These apps help to engage kids and allow them to realize early on in life that learning can be fun!
Instead of writing out addition and subtraction problems on a chalkboard, today’s kids can work on solving math problems through one of the many educational websites used in the classroom. Websites such as XtraMath and Math Magician give kids the opportunity to work at their own pace to learn new math concepts in a non-threatening and unintimidating environment. Teachers will be able to see their progress through reporting, and then identify potential areas for improvement.
All of these trending technological tools work wonders in the classroom, especially during the early years.