Technology is everywhere we turn, and in the early childhood classroom it is no different. The early childhood community has begun to accept the fact that today’s children are immersed in technology on a daily basis. Given this fact, we are often uncertain how to best use technology in the early childhood classroom.
Our desire to offer developmentally appropriate technology to young children coupled with our inexperience with technology in the classroom often leaves us ignoring technology in the classroom altogether.
Years ago early childhood educators debated whether or not it would be beneficial for young children if computers were introduced in the classroom. Many educators raised red flags saying that if we allowed children the opportunity to use a computer at school that children would no longer build with blocks, paint at easels or interact with each other. This fear has been proven false. Young children can indeed be in the same room as a computer and still interact with each other.
Fortunately, early childhood educators have found programming and websites that are developmentally appropriate for young children and have been able to integrate the use of a computer into the classroom just as they would integrate a math, science or writing center into the classroom.
In addition, technology has evolved past computers in the classroom. Many schools and programs now boast of having SMART Boards in the classroom. These SMART Boards enable teachers to trade the chalk board for a board that allows children to interact with the classroom lessons.
The key to SMART Boards and SMART technology in the classroom is that teachers must be smarter than the technology. Teachers must work to use the SMART board as more than the fancy chalk board replacement. The more classroom teachers learn to use the tools available to them, the more opportunities children will have to use SMART technology.
Today’s current technology allows for children to have their own smart devices. Text books are being replaced by eBooks. Children carry their own iPads to school. Knowledge, information worldwide is truly a click away for today’s children. Classroom teachers are again left wondering how does technology fit into the classroom and how can it be best used to meet the needs of today’s learners.