Technology has become an integral and indispensable tool of the present. Preschool teachers often wonder about the appropriate means of introducing technology in the classrooms. With reports that discourage the use of screen media with children under the age of 2, the question on the right age comes up. There is lack of data on psychological studies of children under the pre-school age making it difficult to devise an effective technology- oriented work plan.
Media must not be used as a distraction to maintain the class decorum but as an educational and informative tool. Having said that, listed below are four tips on introducing technology to pre-schoolers.
1. Teaching careful use and handling of technology: It is important to teach children how to handle equipment without damaging it or hurting themselves. The item can be a battery less camera. Children can be taught on how to point and shoot while ensuring that they do not break the equipment. Apart from smart phones and laptops there are endless electronic items that are appropriate for pre-schoolers. They can be taught how a battery operated toy works and what happens when the battery drains.
2. Introduce child friendly hardware: Children are prone to accidents. It is the duty of a preschool teacher to maintain a safe and accident free environment. All the hardware used must be free of pointy and sharp edges. Programs that are appropriate for children must be chosen. Peers who have more experience than a few other kids can help them out. It is safe to generalize that most pre-schoolers are familiar with handling the computer mouse and playing simple online games.
3. Movie time: The simplest use of technology is the projector screen. Most preschools in Singapore show children educational animated movies during class. The content chosen can be as simple as importance of maintain good eating habits and personal hygiene or a clip on being helpful. Bear in mind that the duration of the chips must be short and not more than 15 minutes each.
4. Use devices together: Children must be encouraged to share the use of electronic devices with the teacher and his classmates. If there are computers within the classroom it must be placed where it is visible to the entire classroom. This way, other kids can join in and participate in what their friends are doing.
Preschool teachers must always remember that technology is an important part of the curriculum and often is the most misused.