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The Use of Technology in Early Childhood Classrooms

by , 24th Jul 2016

The use of technology in the classroom is increasing: Many teachers adopt technical devices in their early childhood classrooms helping them to support each child’s learning development more easily.

Technology plays a positive role in children’s development and learning. Through the use of technology, teachers have access to more innovative and improved teaching methods that allow them to promote learning and create an active learning environment for children.  A new survey examined how teachers use technology in their early childhood classrooms. The researchers found that a majority of teachers integrate technical devices in their everyday teaching but that there is a need for support to use the devices more effectively.

The Majority of Teachers Use Tables, Computers or Whiteboards in the Classroom

In order to learn more about how early childhood educators are using technology, Teaching Strategies, an advocate for the early education community, surveyed more than 800 early childhood educators from a variety of early education centres across the US asking questions about their use of technical devices in their classrooms and their attitude toward technology in general.

The survey showed that 90% of the early childhood teachers have access to technology at school and use it regularly, with 88% saying that they use technical devices at least once a week. The researchers also found that the vast majority of teachers already integrated the use of technical gadgets in their lessons by using tables, desktops or interactive whiteboards to enhance the teaching and learning environment and to help them to build stronger relationships with children over subjects discussed in class. When it comes to the devices used, 80% of teachers agreed to include iPads or tablets for their own use in the classroom while 51% and 45% of early childhood educators said they have already integrated computers and interactive whiteboards.

Copyright: Tyler Olson

Copyright: Tyler Olson

The Benefits of Using Technical Devices in Lessons

Many teachers confirmed that the use of technical devices such as tablets or whiteboards has increased the engagement of young pupils in lessons in their classrooms. Additionally, technology gives teachers the ability to design unique learning environments for children. This is because the use of technical devices allows teachers to bring new resources into the classroom and provide children with a much more interactive experience by using apps or quizzes online.

According to Kai-Lee Berke, the Chief Executive Officer of Teaching Strategies, the key to all successful learning and early childhood education is the interaction and relationship between a pupil and his or her teacher. By using technology teachers have the ability to identify opportunities to support a pupil’s learning development more easily and foster a strong interaction with the child. The manager who is an early educator herself also highlights that the use of technological devices help teachers to improve their own teaching skills in ways that meet the needs of individual pupils.

Copyright: Photo smile

Copyright: Photo smile

Technical tools are not only used for classroom interactions with pupils but also for instruction, documentation, assessment and communication support enabling teachers to create a more effective teaching environment. For instance, teachers can use specific apps to plan lessons or use interactive media to document and assess pupils work while being able to share their progress with parents online. Furthermore, online tools such as training courses encourage teachers to improve their own professional development and strengthen a particular skillset through self-paced modules or reading exercises.

The survey’s findings suggest that the integration of all these different types of digital resources in the planning of lessons or everyday learning in the classroom empower teachers to influence the learning development of each young pupil more positively.

Copyright: jfk image

Copyright: jfk image

Improvements and Further Support for Teachers Using Technical Gadgets

Of those teachers who took part in the survey, 96% reported that they would like the way they used the assistance of technology in their early childhood classroom or would like to have the ability to use more technology. The vast majority of teachers also agreed that they feel confident when they integrate technical devices in the classroom or for their own professional development.

However, survey results indicate that many early childhood teachers would welcome the opportunity to strengthen the access to technology at their schools and increase the adoption of technology in lessons.  Some teachers would like to see their school’s improve Internet access in order to use devices more effectively. A majority also thinks that there is a need to improved access to devices and high quality digital resources such as apps to engage young pupils more in the teaching materials.

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