There has been a lot of talk about technology and young children. This has hit home with me. While a Kindergarten teacher for many years, I was always told, technology was not in the best interest of my students. They can’t read, they can’t write, they don’t have fine motor skills, so they do not need computers or technology.
My answer to this was: Well, I guess we don’t need pencils, they can’t write, we don’t need books, they can’t read, and we don’t need scissors, they don’t have fine motor skills.
The purpose of education is to teach skills that students do not have yet, not pull things out of their reach because they don’t have the skills. When a child first picks up a book, he has no idea of what it is, what it will do, what worth is it to him. He turns it round, throws it, and drops it. Eventually, he learns that books are entertaining and give him new words to practice, that it has pages that can be turned, but it follows a process of order and direction on which way the pages should be turned. There is also a direction that the book itself should be held.
Think of all the learning that has just taken place. Now let’s look at a computer or iPad.
When the child first picks up an iPad, he has no idea of what it is, what it will do, what worth it is to him. He turns it round, throws it, drops it. Eventually, he learnes that iPads are entertaining and give him letters to remember, numbers to identify, objects to count and more. He learns that the pages can be turned by swiping his hand across the screen and that when you turn the iPad in various directions,things happen on the screen and when you are reading a book on it, it looks better in the landscape position because there is more room to see the pictures.
Both are learning tools. Both have a place in Kindergarten rooms, even though the students may not be able to read.
As much as some would love it, the Kindergarten student does not read all day. There are things to cut out, pictures to color, clay to mold, center times to be involved with, outside playtime, music class, physical education class, library class.
As much as some would love it, the Kindergarten student does not iPad all day. There are things to cut out, pictures to color, clay to mold, center times to be involved with, outside playtime, music class, physical education class, library class.
In my opinion, Kindergarten is for exploring the world and how it relates to a 5 year old. Technology is just part of that world that needs exploring, just as books are. Time limits on each tool are a given as there is a huge world out there to discover.
But why deny a child to look at the purple tulips just because he doesn’t realize they are purple?
By Susan Brooks, Internet4Classrooms
Susan Brooks is co-founder of Internet4Classrooms.com, an educational resource portal site for teachers, parents, and students that has been used in classrooms and homes since 1999. She is also an Instructional Technology Consultant and Professional Development Trainer. Susan has a BA in Early Childhood Education. She has provided curriculum and technology training to teachers since 1995. Susan's passion is helping teachers and students use technology, whether it is finding a good resource for a specific lesson plan, providing instruction in using a software program or guiding a student to the right resources to learn a subject.