Computers in the Early Childhood Classroom
People are always looking for some wonder drug to solve or “fix” our problems. Today, the wonder drug for education is technology in the classroom. It is believed that integrating technology will solve all of our educational problems. It will increase academic skills and test scores, keep curriculum fun and interesting, lessen dropout rates, and make the lives of teachers easier and less stressful. Well, integrating technology may not accomplish all of these goals, but it does have a place in the early childhood classroom, right? Truthfully, it depends on the classrooms goals and objectives as well as each individual child’s goals and objectives. It also depends on how these technologies are integrated into the early childhood curriculum.
Young children have needs that are different from older children. Children from birth to age eight are constantly using their senses, minds, and bodies to explore and experience the world around them. A major question in education today, is whether or not computer use in the classroom is appropriate and beneficial to their development. To determine whether computers are developmentally appropriate for early childhood children, the developmental needs of these children need to be looked at. Children in early childhood are most generally in Jean Piaget’s preoperational stage of development. This means that they are concrete learners who are interested in using newly learned symbolic imitation such as speaking, writing, drawing and using numbers. Children this age are extremely active and energetic and often have difficulty sitting still. They need frequent changes in learning styles and techniques to keep them interested, as well as a variety of physical activities involving dance, physical play, climbing, and sports.
Preoperational children are also are strengthening their language development and exploring social behavior. Howard Gardner has shown that young children have...
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