The Digital World

The Digital World

The digital world is not something I would normally blog about as I prefer to share the practical activities we enjoy, so this is an unusual post for me.

I’m after some advice!

There is no doubt that our children are growing up in a very different world to the world I grew up in (or even started teaching in) – there was no internet for me as a teenager – or for much of my twenties! I completely understand that they need preparing for it and that we need more people who can code and do ‘technical wizardry’ in the future, but it does worry me how ‘lost’ the children can become when using technology. How unsocial they can be at times.

Also, from a physical point of view, I worry about their necks and spines – there is a lot of ‘stooping’ over an iPad. I’d be really interested to know your thoughts about this and if there is anything you can suggest to counteract the negative impact on their physical development. Maybe some of you have had advice from Occupational Therapists or Physiotherapists? Please let me know if you do!

I’d also like to know if if you’ve found some amazing devices or apps to use with young children that can add something new to our practical and stimulating environment. These are the ones we currently have:

Apps on the iPad - from Rachel (",)

Do you have any other suggestions?

*

We have access to a variety of equipment (such as iPads, cameras, torches, digital photograph album, sound buttons, programmable toys, the OHP etc) as well as a variety of ‘role play’ equipment (keyboards, old laptops, mobile phones, cameras, telephones and so on) and they are always popular.

Programmable toys and sound buttons shared by Rachel (",)

I have to confess though, that I do feel that they learn more, on a practical level, from the loose parts & opportunities I provide for them in and outdoors. Their personal and social skills are often commented on by visiting adults when they are engaged on a more practical level and I do worry that these can go out of the window when they are on something like the iPad. I don’t see the sort of collaboration and problem solving I see when the children play with loose parts like this…

Some of our outdoor play - from Rachel (",)

Maybe you could help me with some ideas?!

I’m not sure if this app is still available in the app store, but we enjoyed using ‘My Custom Soundboard HD’ for some phonics work – you can see how we used it in this (old) post here. They did enjoy this and it definitely encouraged them to think about sounds as part of their free play. Perhaps I need more activity suggestions like this!

iPad and Phonics - from Rachel (",).

So, do you have any other ideas as to how I can incorporate technology into my 3 and 4 year olds class that will help prepare them for the future but still encourage the independent thinking and collaboration that I so value as part of our learning?

Our Interactive Whiteboard has been fitted this summer (it was put in the wrong place when we moved into our new building 2 years ago), so if there are any websites you’d recommend that would be great too.

Social Media

I should mention that we rely on technology for the children’s Learning Journeys… we use the online Learning Journal, ‘Tapestry‘ – and love it (as do the parents and children)! It has done wonders for bringing our class community together and I wouldn’t want to go back. The parents love being able to see what their child is doing throughout the day and we equally love receiving pictures and videos from home. Amazing!

Anyone who follows any of my accounts will know that I love social media – I absolutely love sharing photos of the things we do in school. However, I do know how I can lose a few hours to it, when I only intended to to nip on the computer for 10 minutes. Goodness knows what I would be like if I’d grown up with it!

Incidentally, my friend has written a book based on his experiences with his teenage daughter and social media. You might want to take a look if you are a parent of young children, as it gives great advice on dealing with the use and misuse of social media and is about parents taking control of the devices their children use. Great preparation for the future years (or current years if you already have teenagers)!

It’s FREE TO DOWNLOAD to a Kindle between September 9th and 13th, 2017!

You can find it here.There is Nothing Social about Social Media by Peter Barry

.

I’d also recommend this interview with Simon Sinek about ‘Millenials in the Workplace’. Food for thought about the generations we are currently educating! Love this quote from it… “There is nothing wrong with social media, it’s the imbalance.”

Simon Sinek - 'Millenials in the Workplace

.

So as I said, an usual post from me! I will be back to my usual ‘sharing activities’ posts next time! 🙂

Those of you who are now back at school, hope your new class is settling well!

Thanks for reading!

Don’t forget that you can also find me on FacebookInstagramTwitter &  Pinterest

Would love you to come & say hello! 🙂 

– Rachel (“,)

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

12 Comments

  1. I think you actually answered your own question. You provide such a rich learning environment for your students already. They are so young and have the rest of their lives to learn more technology. In Canada ECE professionals are taught that there is no place for ipads, etc in a childcare setting, plus the newest studies that have found how technology seems to have adverse affects on brain development need to be taken into consideration. I love your blogs and hope you continue to be the inspiring educator that you seem to be.

    Reply
    • Thank you so much, Jennifer! I love watching them immersed in what they are doing in the classroom and outdoors. Hate watching them get lost on an iPad!

      Reply
      • It is an especially tough decision when you only have the little ones with you for 15 hours a week, that is the same for us, plus we our school is a unique blend of a Montessori and Reggio based school. I feel guilty if we show them a short youtube video on the computer related to areas of interest, although I think we only did that twice last year.

        Reply
        • So glad someone else understands my pain! 😉

          Reply
  2. Hi Rachel . I really love looking at your blog for the practical ideas and I teach your one and a very tech savvy school . Not to say that I am savvy but the expectation that I should be is there . I become a lot more open to text since working at the school. I have seen children who are hesitant about speaking because they’re learning a second language English be able to more clearly communicate through and explain everything app presentation or recording their voices by doing the three little pigs puppets . Apps that I find really great are whiskey and kahoot where you can have online quizzes actually find is a really great for super fun and informative preassessment and post assessment . I like using popplet for creating mind maps and sorting categories using digital images. I also like to use the flipped classroom approach where I give kids access to online content that I have chosen in order for them to draw conclusions and have discussions with her classmates . For instance for my ocean unit I love to teach kids about cephalopods because they’re one of my favorite groups of animals . I did provide them a few well chosen videos for each type of cephalopod… the octopus cuttlefish squid and I tell the kids that they’re part of an animal family . I ask the mugs to tell me what makes them a family? While they do have many a few outward similarities there are many adaptations that they have that you would only learn about by watching a video and comparing them to each other . My kids are really excited to watch these videos and discuss what they see and they need to feel that cephalopods are extremely intelligent creatures with the ability to change color in the dark. How cool is that ! In this way I’m not teaching or delivering content through a lecture, (sadly there’s no ocean near me!) or a slideshow but rather they’re learning how to watch a video to gain specific information. to rewatch for key points so that they can clarify their knowledge to ask questions and to draw conclusions about differences and similarities. I also love the app Tinytap which has thousands of digital quizzes that are already made. They are usually quizzes following a storybook or on a certain unit . The American app Reading Rainbow I find to have really good digital story books for children . While I still love print books myself, I do realize that it’s necessary for my children to be able to master digital books reading for their futures. Expeditions with Google is great, human body allows you to explore circulatory and skeletal systems in detail, peep and the big wide world has done great apps as well. Happy exploring!!

    Reply
    • Thank you so much for taking the time to give such a detailed reply! I really appreciate it!
      The children in my class are only 3 and 4 and it’s a skills based curriculum, rather than knowledge based, so I guess I just have to try and find a balance. There will definitely be some elements that are more appropriate 🙂

      Reply
  3. I feel this is a dilemma that many people will relate to. The excellent “hole in the wall” experiments carried out by Sugata Mitra are definitely examples of collaboration using technology. I suspect that most 3 year olds are already too competent with technology for this to work in its basic form, but perhaps if you could devise some sort of challenge that would require experimentation to solve and limit the number of gadgets to one or two with an aim that everyone would be able to achieve it within a set time frame (such as a week) you might be able to replicate something similar.

    Reply
    • Thanks Catherine! Really appreciate you taking the time to reply. I could certainly give it a go! They are only in for 15 hours a week and I really want them to make good use of it. I’ll have to have a look at the ‘hole in the wall’ experiments. Thank you! 🙂

      Reply
  4. Duck Duck Moose has some great games for early childhood. However, I worry, too, about giving my students too much technology time. I tend to use our iPads and a Duck Duck Moose game during intervention– so it’s just me, a child and the iPad together. I make the child explain what they’re doing. I find that otherwise, kids will try to efficiently “solve” the game by eliminating choices (push one option at a time), rather than thinking about what the game is asking.

    Reply
    • Thanks, Amanda! Totally agree that they try to solve by eliminating!
      I’ll look into Duck Duck Moose 🙂

      Reply
  5. Hi Rachel

    Thank you for this post which is interesting as always and I tend to agree with you that I would rather have the children engaged in more practical learning opportunities.

    I teach a Reception class and feel that on the whole children use so much digital technology at home that our role at school is to provide other challenges. I think that teaching internet safety is a key area where we can support both children and parents, who are sometimes unaware of the sophistication of their children’s digital know-how.

    We have weekly computing lessons which the children love and which we use to support other areas of the curriculum. I think when using ipads, encouraging children to work in pairs or groups can counter the antisocial and overly-absorbed tendency which you have rightly noted. We love beebots for this reason – the children work together and I feel they extend their language as well as problem solving skills.

    Best wishes
    Alison

    Reply
    • Thank you, Alison!
      As mine are only in for half the week, I don’t want them to attend a weekly computing lesson. I agree about internet safety & love beebots too (although we could do with chargeable ones, as the batteries are an issue in ours).
      Thanks for taking the time to reply 🙂

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *