Technology in Early Childhood Education

Abstract

Information technology has provided a new platform for a child’s education by encompassing “reality” in his or her immediate surroundings. Practical dissemination of knowledge and learning approaches, which dynamically capture a child in receiving knowledge and comprehending the environment around him or her can support growth in learning in terms of fostering creativity, concentration, curiosity, passion and persistence.

The development of a child’s abilities and understanding during early years of growth can be influenced by the context in which technology tools are used and the contribution of mature adults (Cooper, 2003). Hence, the cultural and social context in which technology is dispersed and developed is essential in impacting the child either positively or negatively during the early childhood age. Enhancing on-going learning and success in the effective use of information and communication technology is critically a critical strategy of diversifying a child “world” through prospects and understandings in a multi-literacy society.

Interactive whiteboards and IPADS have given a new direction for instructors. These tools have strengthened innovation, capturing and sharing of “moment” of a child learning, observation and added delight in learning in unique ways. Perhaps, this is the reason why a child’s commitment and motivation is typically high thus surging the teachable determination. However, the appropriateness of interactive white board and IPADS program in a learning environment should be assessed to determine their effectiveness. Because, using interactive whiteboard and IPADS regularly and for long hours and excluding other learning familiarities may illicit major potential concerns. Challenges such as; biological risks, growth delays and, cognitive and emotional reticence, connected with a child inappropriate use of these gadgets can prove disastrous (Lee and Boyle, 2003).

Introduction

Interactive white boards and IPADs like other information technology tools have increasingly formed part of the learning process in modern learning environments. They provide a balanced learning process for a child during early years and reinforce the learning experience through engaging the child. Interactive whiteboard and IPADS have been instrumental in supporting a child through learning processes through activities such as; interaction, play, manipulation, exploration with “real” resources and experimental scenarios. Hence, primarily, they have aimed at testing and extending a child’s perceptions and ideas about his or her “world” (Cooper, 2003).

This paper explores the role of interactive whiteboards and IPADS as a medium of instruction in early childhood development. The paper defines the two technologies and explores early childhood development and the impact of these technologies on a child. The paper also points out the importance of interactive whiteboards and IPADS such as; enhancing social and emotional development, fostering a child engagement towards learning, encouraging motivation and enriching the needs of impaired children’s.

Interactive White Boards and IPADS

An interactive whiteboard encompasses a touch sensitive screen that works with a projector connected to a computer system (Ball, 2003). The user of interactive white board can either check the computer system with a finger, a pencil or a mouse. They boards are fixed on a wall. Besides, the interactive white boards’ are popular in classrooms across all levels of educations hence replacing the classical whiteboards and flip charts. Interactive whiteboards have been embraced across the world over traditional boards because of their potential in improving the level of education appropriate to their style of providing interactive learning sessions, being motivational and encouraging participation. Various studies affirm that interactive whiteboard and IPAD is essential in a child assessment process contributing to high level of attendance (Lee and Boyle, 2003). Notwithstanding, curriculum developers assert that interactive whiteboards influences on a child learning, crafting lessons by interactive whiteboards assists educators in streamlining their design, being organized in integrating information technology and increasing their overall efficiency.

On the other hand, IPAD, the IPAD simplifies manipulation of information because of the touchscreen, increases a child engagement, include digital stories and other entertainment software which are important in a child creativity development.

Early Childhood

Early childhood essentially is the first eight years of a person. Hence, the education disseminated during this period of development is critical because it assists in improving development of a person. Early childhood education is regarded as learning through play or discovery. According to Kent (2003) the eight years of child development are important because at this stage the child brain is developing and more “wiring” is taking place (Ball, 2003). The education that a child receives together with the nutrition during this period contributes to mental and emotional growth. Whereas effective early childhood education assists the child’s brain to grow in a healthy manner, improper dissemination of it may restrict or affect brain growth in a distinct style. Therefore, the experiences and early learning opportunities of a child in early years can aid him or her in the entire life.

According to Healy (1999) early childhood education indicates considerable success by incorporation advanced technologies. Thus, incorporation IPADS and interactive whiteboards to promote learning during this early development has impacted positively on a child learning capability which is viewed to last longer. A child spends his or her first eight years in realizing his or her identity, this is a critical period when a child recognizes a sense of self and learns to build a relationship with his or surrounding. Additionally, a child form behavior and sensitivity to a certain level. For this reason, the use of IPADS and interactive whiteboards during this period plays a critical role of teaching a child to discover the world around him or her through plays, exploration, participation and creativity. This process makes a child build a stronger relationship with other people and establish links which are important during this stage of growth.

Play is an element of child development during the early years. Hence, it occupies the central role in shaping a child learning and emotional development. Multi-facet plays often contribute to providing different learning skills to a child so do interactive whiteboards and IPADS. These technology tools come equipped with various entertainment opportunities granting a child gaming options. For instance, IPADS have inbuilt games where a child has an option to choose which one fits his or her skills (Miller et al, 2005). Various games in IPADs can stimulate a child mental strength and encourage innovation. In interactive whiteboards, a child can interact with others through games, diagrams, and color recognition, letters of the alphabet or numbers among other programs installed. Because, the board has computer programs presented in a multimedia format, a child can utilize his or her creativity with others through these interactions. This builds confidence, trust, social skills, values and ethics which are important in present society.

Using interactive whiteboards and IPADS during the early years of a child development is essential in establishing a strong background for a child future success. These tools form a solid habit in a child and create a system which is difficult to be altered in later years of his or her life. The influence of parents and educators among other stakeholders in strengthening effective technology use by a child opens opportunities for a child in achieving greater education success because a child is able to understand the technological trend happening around his or her surrounding without fear. This positively helps to determine his or her personality.

Social and Emotional Development

According to Reardon (2002) technology is not meant to substitute human interaction, association or dismantle activities such as conventional reading stories. But, when fittingly embraced, IPADS and interactive whiteboards compliment traditional methods by providing tremendous experience, promoting social interaction and conversation which are connected to a child’s work and activities. A classroom set up with an interactive white board and IPAD encourages interaction and increases literacy and language growth. Initiatives of using interactive animations in stimulating concentration of a child promotes; participation, sharing of ideas and inspires a child in the activity being in context (Cox et al, 2003). Thus, when appropriately tailored, interactive white board and IPADS intrinsically inspire a child and submit to his or her social and cognitive growth.

Interactive white board and IPADS fuel concentration thus; a child demonstrates skills of attentiveness this creates increased level of cooperation and improves communication and listening skills. Reardon (2003) points out that embracing the IPAD and interactive boards create shared leadership responsibilities among the children’s and that they can initiate interactions more regularly.

Engagement

The classical conception of understanding has been anchored towards asking questions, thus, making acquisition of knowledge basically a social phenomenon. However, contemporary learning is inclined towards the idea of integration learning using different technologies. Integrated learning influence a child in making diligent decision and engages in learning construction. Interaction whiteboards and IPADS sustain a vibrant commitment, engagement and interaction with a child providing an effective learning environment without segregating the child (Kent, 2003).

Besides, interactive white boards’ and IPADS surges interaction among the children’s, the learning content and augment Information Technology by extending a diverse work space for practical work with multimedia elements. Interactive whiteboard and IPADS provide large display area for every participant to be engaged thus, supporting more interaction among the children’s. Hence, an instructor can interact with an interactive whiteboard or an IPAD in front of the class whereas sustaining contact with the rest of the class.

Research conducted in United Kingdom, Australia and United States suggests that the use of interactive whiteboard and IPADS permits the growth of classroom roles that are involving for a child. Interactive whiteboards and IPADS maintain consistent participation, concentration, interaction and advance a child learning at the end. In the United States, Gerard and Widener (1999) illustrated that the SMART board interactive whiteboard strengthened relations and discussion in class. It assisted in demonstrating the creativity of culture and semantic tenets. Further, Solvie (2001) evaluated the connection existing between interactive whiteboard as a tool for literacy delivery in a first-grade class and a child concentration and involvement in the literacy lesson. She found out that SMART board was embraced and because it established an enthusiasm environment for learning on a child as indicated in comments during the lessons obtained using SMART Board and child discussions.

In the UK, Ball (2003) illustrated that teachers were concentrated on a child response in lessons where interactive whiteboard was embraced. Also, Cox et al. (2003) argued that the interactive whiteboards helps teachers to encompass more understanding of their child progress and that a child, on the other hand, is able to share and collaborate with one another.

Consequently, Kent (2003) found out that there was an increased potential for interactive engagement in classrooms where interactive whiteboards were used in Australia. He illustrated that instructing with interactive boards and IPADS was more exiting, fun, engaging hence impacting on content, swiftness and profundity of learning (Lee and Boyle, 2003).

Motivation

In a classroom context, motivation is evaluated by a child desire to contribute in the learning procedure. Whereas students may be motivated to achieve a given activity, their cause of motivation may vary. Some children are naturally motivated to learn because they embrace reflection and participation in the learning process. However, other children are extrinsically motivated by inducement, instructor distinct goals or rewards. Jennings School District (2005) argues the performance of a child should not revolve around test score alone, but other aspects such as; behavior, inspiration and should be factored. Augmenting the role of technology, Jennings viewed improvement in each of these cases. He noticed greater classroom satisfaction and motivation. This was primarily on extrinsically motivated learners.

He noticed that extrinsically learners recorded fewer absentees because, involving a child to get anchored on a task is challenging task where technologies such as IPADs and interactive whiteboards are common (Jennings School District, 2005). However, using interactive whiteboards and IPADS for study provide additional enthusiasms for a child to attend class. Besides extending gaming experience, interactive whiteboards successfully shapes a child computer skills and creativity which is necessary for every day society. As Miller et al. (2005) notes higher capabilities of performance with interactive boards demonstrate both the instructor and the subject possess more credibility because of the nature of upholding technology.

Besides, the interactive whiteboard and IPADS have credibility because it has similar standings as a medium o that embraced by children in everyday situations on a larger scale. Reardon (2002) illustrates that, in addition to enhancing interests, and enjoyment in learning, IPADS and Interactive whiteboards acts as an incentive for a child to learn. With the aid of IPADS and whiteboards, instructors can be innovative in ways to seize a child’s attention and reasoning. On the other hand, Tate (2002) found out that a student in a technology inclined atmosphere conveyed more zeal and interest in the activity they were engaged in than children in a classical setting.

Similar findings were noted in the United Kingdom. According to Bush et al. (2004) the interactive whiteboard simplified teaching, thus, more visual and learning more engaging. This, in turn, enticed participation from children’s surging their concentrate on and motivation. Cooper (2003) alludes that a child is immersed and endowed with diverse prospects for interactivity of different types of technologies. More importantly, the interactive whiteboards and IPADS engage a child and strengthen attention in multi-sensory and varying ways. This allows him, or her to be involved and emotionally attached to the learning process. According to cooper (2003), it is the visual characteristics of IPADS and interactive whiteboards that fix a child to a task.

Another study carried in Australia points out that similar development in a child motivation is detailed. Lee and Boyle (2003) found out that when one can sit down attentively listen to a six-year child what distinct in relation to interactive whiteboard learning and how it helps them to reinforce learning in a more enjoyment paradigm, one can realize that indeed, something distinct is taking place.

Enriching Special Needs

Curriculum developers endlessly endeavor to develop plans and methods that allow a child with diverse and unique alternatives of learning needs. These learning styles can cater for the needs learners who are impaired or demand special attention. Hence; interactive whiteboard and IPADS become a necessity.

According to Kent (2003) visual learners receive much benefit by embracing IPADS and interactive whiteboard. More specific, interactive whiteboard enhances understanding because the learning process incorporates manipulation of symbols and objects and diagrams to surge understanding of the concept being addressed. Besides, the interactive whiteboard is simple to use as it allows children regardless of their age to consider their own writing and the objects of their own innovation.

Consequently, tactile learners are constrained in the mainstream classroom activities which are typically more auditory or visual in nature. Hence, they are better placed in learning through exercises involving movement, touch and space. This capability is provided by IPADS and interactive whiteboard. Moreover, impaired children’s such as deaf and handicapped among other categories depends entirely on visual learning. IPADS and interactive whiteboards simplify the dissemination of visual resources by the use of sign language. Other children with special needs such as physical disability and those who need special attention such as Deficit Disorder also benefit by the large space offered by the interactive whiteboard. The touch sensitivity of IPADS and interactive whiteboard simplifies learning process more than the standard keyboard and mouse, and it grants good behavior development within a child.

According to studies carried in the United States, it was noted that interactive whiteboard integrated with multi-sensory learning needs helped higher percentage of children’s. A second-grade child with a short term recollection problem found color coding characters and accentuated phonetic ethics convenient when remembering and recapping materials. Also, Jameson (2002) notes that interactive whiteboard converted previously “lifeless” child into an enthusiastic, active learner. A child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is able to regulate the spontaneous explosion when interactive whiteboard and IPAD technology is employed because these technologies serve as behavioral control mechanisms (Jameson, 2002). Consequently, Cooper (2003) argues that when a teacher uses videos on an interactive board, a child who is unable to view images are finally able to see and interact with a whiteboard image which is beneficial.

Conclusion

In early childhood development, technology will still remain as part of instructional resources. Hence, the availability of well- trained instructors and support of the society will make its applicability success. The technology embraced should be fully developed, unbiased against children with disabilities, non- sexist and tolerable across the society. Technologies have endlessly been used in addressing learning difficulties and enhance different learning styles and consolidating the world in the classroom environment.

Has aforementioned, interactive whiteboards and IPADS have shaped the early childhood learning process. Early childhood is regarded as a stage where child developed occurs at a faster pace. Hence, the application of technology during this period enhances a child to understand the “world” around him or her. Interactive whiteboard and IPADS have discussed helps to engage a child in the learning process, motivate a child in learning and help to establish a child’s social and emotional interaction morals. When ingrained early in a child’s life, they form part of the child development in his or her future life.

References List

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