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Early Childhood Education in the Digital Age


We cannot deny the omnipresence of technology in every aspect of our lives. We use it at home, at work, in our free time, at school as well as preschool. What’s more, we can’t even fulfil some of our obligations without the use of technology. Due to all these technological advances and changes, several questions concerning the use of technology in early childhood education have risen. Early childhood educators face a challenging task where they need to find the right balance of using tech in early childhood education. They need to consider what kinds of educational tech-driven activities they can use and whether they are appropriate. To help out, we’ve prepared this post to shed light on the ways technology can be used as part of early childhood education in the digital age. Hopefully, it will help both parents and educators.

We’ll start with computers, iPads and tablets and explain all the benefits they can bring to early childhood education if used in the right way. Moreover, we’ll also spend some time discussing interactive whiteboards, which are a great digital tool. Digital storytelling will be yet another aspect to discuss. When considering what technology and how to use it, there are some guiding principles to follow – keep reading to learn more about them.

  1. Computers: Desktop and Laptops

The ultimate aim of integrating technology into early childhood education is to develop digital literacy. So, most, if not all tech-driven activities should have digital literacy as their objective. Perhaps the best way to start their technology journey is with the use of traditional desktop computers and laptops. Think about some amusing and insightful activities you could do using these devices and let children explore them. Give them clear and simple instructions and explain why and what they should do. You can start with simple things such as watching some cartoons or documentaries on YT. There are also plenty of useful apps they can use and learn through play. Remember that they are still children, so the activities should be fun and playful. Every modern day care centre that aims to teach children digital literacy possesses a certain number of computers and laptops.

  1. iPads and tablets

Other types of gadgets you can use to promote digital literacy are iPads and tablets. When joining preschool, most children are already familiar with how to use tablets or at least smartphones. You should take that to your advantage and use the opportunity to expand your knowledge. There is a myriad of fun and educational apps and platforms you can use. Whatever the topic of your lesson is, you can always explore the apps and find a suitable one. Some of the most popular topics include animals, numbers, songs, letters and so on. Make sure to try out the app before the lesson – testing is crucial to make sure it is the right app for you and your goals. 

  1. Interactive Whiteboards

A modern version of the traditional black and whiteboard is an interactive smartboard. It is definitely one of the greatest digital inventions for the modern classroom. Educators can use it in multiple ways. Essentially is a computer connected to a projector, projecting pictures on an interactive board, which you can click on – hence ‘smart’. You can use it for all the things you can use a computer for, plus many others. What children love are interactive apps that come with many modern preschool and school books. For example, if they are learning a language, there is an interactive DVD you get with the book. When you play the DVD there are lessons and exercises to check if students remembered them. They are often matching, completing and puzzle exercises. There are also educational videos as well as songs with dance moves. Children love these and they feel motivated to participate.

  1. Digital storytelling

Another great way to integrate technology into preschool education is through digital storytelling. It is amusing as it allows children to use their imagination. Actually, it promotes creativity and imagination. There are a few ways to incorporate it. Children can create their own artwork and come up with a story about it. You can record it and play it for the group. Another option is to offer several images or videos, so children can choose what they like and come up with their story. Again, they can narrate and you can record. They can create their own digital storybook. Digital storytelling as an activity is highly engaging, it encourages creativity and promotes higher-level thinking.

  1. Key guiding principles to follow

Appropriate use of technology

When opting for tech-based activities in early childhood education, educators should have in mind the developmental levels of children. So, the activities they choose should reflect what children of that particular age should learn and how tech can help in achieving that goal.

Active vs passive use

Speaking of using technology, children can use it actively and passively. Using technology passively implies just watching content, without any participation. On the other hand, active use of technology implies active participation in storytelling, for instance. Children almost always benefit more from the active use of technology.

Developmentally appropriate technology use

It is suggested that children aged 0 to 2, shouldn’t use tech on their own, as they have no gains from that. On the other hand, children aged 12 to 24 months can benefit from co-viewing content with their parents. In that way, it can be used as a learning tool.

Increase access to learning opportunities

When technology is appropriately used, it can complement and expand knowledge. For example, technology can be used to introduce children to other cultures, that are outside their community.

Interaction and co-viewing

Some studies show that children benefit the most when co-viewing content with their parents or educators. This is so as they are promoting connections to the real world while they are viewing and afterwards.

Technology can have plenty of benefits for children if used in the right way. Hopefully, these tips help you get some insight on how to integrate technology both in preschool and at home.


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