Technology is transforming the classroom experience, and early childhood education is no exception. Early integration of technology seems to be a helpful and expanding strategy for educators, and can be yet another tool or resource to help teachers. As ECE technology options are becoming more plentiful and available, educators have the opportunity to incorporate various tools into their classrooms. To learn more about how you can utilize ECE technology, review the guide below.
What Is ECE technology?
While many think education technology is simply for older students, many educators are realizing how effective it can be for young learners as well. ECE technology takes education technology tools developed for older students, and reconfigures them to suit younger users. With these resources, teachers can enhance their lessons and engage young students, all while integrating them into our overwhelmingly digital world.
How can ECE technology help students?
As outlined in the joint position statement from the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media, when used appropriately and intentionally, technology and interactive media are effective tools to support learning and development. But how?
When used correctly, ECE technology can serve several purposes. Tools can be used to support social and emotional development, encourage students to follow multi-step directions, and help teach basic academic skills. Tech integration can also pave the way for critical thinking, and offer opportunities for demonstrations of creativity. What’s more, it can make learning a fun and interactive process for students!
ECE technology can also assist preschool teachers and parents in ensuring children are ready for kindergarten. For students starting kindergarten in the fall, it can be smart to begin preparing months in advance. Review the list below or visit Scholastic’s guide for some examples of what kindergarten-readiness might look like:
- Identify some letters of the alphabet
- Grip a pencil, crayon, or marker correctly
- Count to 10
- Speak using complete sentences
- Follow directions
- Recognize some common sight words, like “stop”
While students will develop many of these skills throughout the school year, it can be helpful to go into kindergarten with exposure and practice in some of these areas. ECE can help by offering ways for children to practice and learn in engaging and exciting ways.
Try These ECE Tools
ECE technology is most successful when its integration aligns with your learning goals and is meant to enhance the lesson, not be the lesson. Test out the following tools and consider working them into your curriculum!
- Starfall – a phonics-based website for pre-K through 1st grade that offers activities for developing and strengthening reading skills
- Fuel the Brain – unique, free, and fun games that focus on common core standards for math, science, and more
- Seussville – find all things Dr. Seuss on this site, including activities and information about the author’s books and characters
- Cookie – games, exercises, and puzzles that help young students learn letters, numbers, and words
- LiveBinders – digital resource that allows teachers to collect materials and make them accessible to parents and students
- Symbaloo – a visual tool for teachers to gather and organize materials as graphical titles. This not only helps teachers manage their resources, but can improve struggling readers’ ability to navigate desktops on student computers
- Brightwheel – teachers can record and track daily events and activities in the classroom, and families can get real-time updates delivered to their mobile device during the day
- AlphaTots – kids play fun games where action words are associated with each letter of the alphabet. The app pronounces each letter, creates puzzles, and plays sing-along songs
- Reading Rainbow Skybrary Family – children pilot hot air balloons across fictional islands, each of which hosts colorful books. Tours are led by Levar Burton, who also appears in educational Video Field Trips
- Little Writer – students are able to develop fine motor control for writing and drawing, and kids can practice drawing letters, numbers, and shape
- Elmo Loves 123s – Elmo and Abby teach students to count with songs, videos, puzzles, and number games. Kids can also trace numbers to unlock surprises, and teachers can track students’ progress along the way
Contact SchoolMart to Learn More
No matter the tools you choose, many educators find their lessons enhanced by the inclusion of ECE technology. Take the time to try out different resources until you find the one that works best for you. If you’re looking for more information or tips on how to maximize your usage of these tools, contact SchoolMart at 1-800-285-2662 or reach out here. We can’t wait to help you on your edtech journey!