There is often a lot of discussion and opinion as to whether using digital technology in a preschool program is effective. If you’re an early childhood teacher, you may have already heard first hand from “concerned” parents that the use of iPads and “screen time” on the SMARTboards is unnecessary. From their point of view, they don’t send their kids to school to play games on the iPads and “watch TV”. Believe it or not, this is what they say amongst themselves. If they only knew that, contrary to what they might think, we are in fact utilizing technology appropriately and in a way that supports early development.
I came across an article recently that I found very interesting and informative by Anne Epstein of Curriculum Development, where she shares her research with us and explores ways that educators can integrate technology in their early childhood classrooms. Epstein points out that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Council on Communications and Media recognizes “that high- quality interactive media can have educational benefits for children above age two, improving ‘social skills, language skills, and even school readiness'”. You cannot deny the fact that we live in a society that lives off technology for nearly everything we do.. and it is here to stay.
Apart from what research shows us, many still debate on whether or not, this is in the best interest for our children. It is a back and forth debate with one side saying that too much technology results in a loss of creativity and social skills in children, meanwhile others say that through using technology, the speed at which students process information intensifies.
When it comes down to it, I think that we live in a world that is only moving forward, in terms of technology and innovation. Parents need to be educated of the benefits of exposing children to technology outside of their home environment. The reason why some parents may feel like technology should stay out of the classroom is because they are only familiar with what they see their children doing at home, and they aren’t educated about the programs and softwares we might be using in the classroom with their children. A child might go home saying, “Mom, I got to play a game on the iPad today!”, and immediately the first thought that pops into moms head is going to be, “Why is my child playing games on the iPad at school? Is this how they spend their time, when my child should be learning?” Let’s educate our parents as best we can- whether it be through Parent Ed sessions at the school, informative emails, or scheduled parent meetings. We are cultivating our next generation of little thinkers… and technology has a huge role in their education.