Early Childhood Education & Technology

June 6, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Posted in Education | 2 Comments
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It was very interesting to read this article from Stuff.co.nz today about early childhood education providers using Nintendo Wii and Skype in their centres. This was especially interesting after reading a blog post from Educational Origami about what age was appropriate for children to be using social networking.

In the article we are seeing technology being used in early childhood centres in a way that promotes both education and exercise. The Nintendo Wii is a very useful piece of technology that can get kids moving, especially in the wet winter days that we are getting at the moment. My sister, who lives in Australia, bought a Nintendo Wii for her children for this reason – keeping her kids active during the very hot summer days where it is sometimes better to stay inside an air-conditioned room. I must admit, that right now I would love for our family to have a Wii, as our kids are getting a bit crazy with all this rain! Of course the other good aspect of the Nintendo Wii at this age is that it helps build motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

The kids were using Skype also to video call other kindergarten children around the world! Well, in my view that is absolutely fantastic! The kids are getting a grasp of technology, able to learn about other cultures, countries and possibly languages. They get to meet new and different people and getting to make at least a little sense of the world!

All of this interaction is being closely monitored and it needs to be. As the article suggests there are critics of these schemes however we really do need to look at both sides of the situation. There is some good teaching and learning to be done with this technology. I would certainly be happy for my children to be experiencing this sort of learning at kindergarten or school. And just like everything, it needs to be balanced. It should not totally replace other activities.

One bonus for educators in primary and secondary schools is that the students themselves will already have started to learn about cyber safety and privacy.

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  1. I agree that these are wonderful opportunities for students at young ages. I have taught Pre- K for 3 years and I have struggled with finding appropriates uses of technology in my classroom. I absolutely love the idea of being able to Skype someone in another state or country, this would be a great thing to do if a class had pen pals in other schools. I would have never thought of that. I do not know of anyone who has used a Wii in their classroom but I think it would be a great tool for a PE teacher or Occupational therapist to reach those students who might not otherwise participate in physical activities to promote hand eye coordination and small muscle control. Thanks for sharing and I will pass the ideas along to my co-workers.

    • Thanks for your comment. I currently teach in distance education and have not used a Wii in the classroom, however I do use Skype with my students as it’s a great way to get a more face-to-face interaction with them. Skyping with pen pals is a great idea!
      Thanks


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