Technology in early learning centres doesn’t have to be a problem!

Charlotte Thompson, 21 May 2019

Technology is not the enemy when it comes to children. Alike most things in this world, anything in moderation is best for you. Using technology for the right reasons can be the ultimate learning tool.

Many educators share their concerns about technology and how it is being used within early learning centres.

The concern is not just about technology, rather is about the rate at which technology is changing the world, and whether it brings the same values when compared with more traditional methods of learning.

Today’s children are growing up in a changing environment and digital age. This establishes the consequences of them developing in an era where their first memorable toys are devices such as iPads and technology-based tools. These interactive digital technologies are certainly not going anywhere, and are only going to continue to grow, becoming more involved in our lives as time progresses.

There are certainly many different views when it comes to technology and how they are being used in learning environments. People are either for or against the increased use of technology within the early learning phases of children. With technology having such an increased role in today's society, it is difficult to stay away from it. Instead, we can cleverly embrace it.

It is important to understand technology in its whole form and take into account the many advantages it may bring to a child's development and early learning. Technology is ever-changing and can be a great opportunity for children to grow, share and change themselves.

Technology can help children learn and explore new skills as well as gain a new understanding of communicating in a digital age. Although this is all exciting and positive, it is important for early learning centres, parents and educators to guide children in using this technology wisely.

Rather than children using technology passively, our aim as role-models it to help them utilise it actively.

“Even the youngest children have access to these media with 83% of children aged 6 months to 6 years using screens every day for recreation, school work or readingChild-encylopedia

Technology & early learning

Living in a technology-driven age brings devices into the spotlight when it comes to academic performance. It is most definitely a fantastic means of shaping 21st century skills that are often sought out by many employers in this modern day and age. Here is a list of benefits technology has on children when used for the purpose of education:

  • Connect with others: An amazing benefit of technology used in early learning centres is the ability to close distances and connect with convenience. Sharing and creating photos/videos with family members about what children are learning and participating in builds a positive relationship between the childcare and families. This is the same way in which we at Young Academics use the Kinderloop app for communication between educators and parents/guardians. Children also find this beneficial as they develop feelings of pride and accomplishment when they are aware that their parents are keeping up-to-date with what they are doing on a daily basis.
  • Researching and exploring: Technology is an amazing tool for research and exploration in terms of daily activities carried out by a child. Using a tablet or computer to learn more about certain facts helps a child develop curiosity and gain researching skills. Early learning facilities can incorporate these techniques within their daily activities, such as asking children to research certain topics, helping them understand the importance of this throughout every stage of their life.
  • Creative apps: Technology has brought upon the advantage of an abundance of creative applications that can support deeper learning methods. Many creative apps help children establish skills such as problem-solving, creating, drawing and practising important developmental processes such as hand-writing and researching.
  • Experimenting with technology: The use of touch screen experiences allows children to receive direct feedback and outcomes which helps develop feelings of success and encouragement. These interactive based learning experiences boost a child's creative juices, enhancing their development.

“Young children today are growing up in digital contexts”  Early Childhood Australia

How technology can pose as both a benefit and problem in early learning

Technology can be quite beneficial when chosen and used correctly. These interactive devices and technologies can provide children learning experiences, expanding their worlds view which other traditional methods may not be able to provide. The use of these technologies can be a huge development progress for a child's learning needs.

However, technology does pose some problems that educators and parents need to be aware of. These technological devices shouldn’t be there to eliminate personal connections and opportunities to engage. If this is the case, and these devices are holding peoples attention creating an unbalanced lifestyle, it is important to set boundaries and restrictions.

Sometimes the use of technology can take a step too far and children stop paying attention to important aspects of their life such as health, social connections and other activities.

Children are unaware of these potential problems, which is why parents and educators need to teach children how to use technology the right way.

Technology should not hinder their development, technology should promote it.

These potential problems with technology are quite complex and multi-dimensional which is why early learning centres need to make sure they are keeping tabs on children. Spending too much time on these devices and not making time for healthier activities including social interactions, family time, physical activity, play-time and sleep can cause a negative effect on their lifestyle. This can consequently lead to increased stress and anxiety in children.

Warning Signs of Problems

If you are sensing that your child is relying on technology for all learning and leisurely activities, leaving no time for other important activities, it is important to set down strict guidelines and rules for children. Some warning signs include:

  • Children losing interest in other activities
  • Academic standards dropping
  • Choosing technology and devices over family and social interaction
  • Moody behaviour, bad attitude, foul language and behaviour
  • Lack of sleep

It is important to set down protocol when allowing your child to use technology. Here are some recommendations to help positivity when using technology:

  • Being mindful about the use of technology and focusing on family not screens during family-based events
  • Balancing the use of devices with traditional methods of play such as playing outdoors, reading, writing and creative arts
  • Restrict online access for young children and make sure they are supervised. It is important for children to be engaging with responsible and appropriate tools when engaging with technology

Young Academics understands the complexities of technology and makes sure that your child is in safe hands. We love to incorporate technology within our childcare to promote positive development and responses. A way in which we do this is by using Kinderloop, a creative application developed capturing a child’s special moments throughout the day. This allows families to stay notified about their child's daily activities.

In addition to this, where appropriate, we incorporate technologies to enhance cognitive and social development.

We know how to take care of your child.

Find out more about Young Academics and our programs. Enquire today on 1300 668 993.

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