Educational Technology in Your Young Child’s Life
Written by: Creative Scholars Preschool
In my classroom, we have two simple rules for using tablets: be gentle, and try not to sneeze or drool too much. The kids laugh when tell them this. It is a joke for the most part. But I see our students’ eyes open wide when they catch a glimpse of an iPad, and I do wonder if they begin to salivate.
Tablets have burst onto the educational landscape with remarkable speed. While children clamor to get their fingers on the nearest touch screen, parents and educators must weigh the technology’s exciting potential against a host of unknowns. I offer the following advice to consider as you decide what role educational technology will play in your child’s life.
Talk About Screen Time
Have an ongoing dialogue with your children about how much screen time is acceptable. Whether you embrace technology or take a more hesitant approach, talk to your kids about what you think is healthy and why. Finding the right balance can be difficult. If you are unsure, I suggest reading this and this as good starting points.
Make Screen Time Social
Try not to let screen time turn into alone time. Although the interactive nature of tablets and the feedback they can provide often means independent play is valuable, children benefit significantly from learning in social settings. Treat tablets more like a board game or a book. Sit down together and turn screen time into a social event, at least occasionally. Take turns with an activity, have your child show you what he or she can do, or try something challenging that requires adult support.
Take Advantage of Great Educational Apps
There are many apps that focus on early educational skills in ways that are engaging and fun. Consider focusing your child’s screen time primarily or exclusively on educational content. Take advantage of your child’s fascination with technology and use it to foster whatever types of learning are most important to you. I have compiled my own app recommendations as a resource for my students’ families, which I hope you might also find helpful.
We want children to think about technology as a tool -- not as an end but as a means to an end. So create something with your child. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
* Create a song or create a podcast, perhaps using Garage Band
* Create and publish a homemade book, perhaps using Book Creator
* Start a blog, perhaps using wordpress or tumblr
* Invent a storying using toys and then videotape the action.
We are only beginning to realize the potential of these wonderful instruments. New and exciting possibilities certainly lie on the horizon. Your child can help us find them!