So, I’m still looking at ways to integrate ICT’s into classrooms in the Early Childhood sector. Doing a bit of Googling when I came across an article, Children using ICT: the seven principles for good practice (DATEC, 2000). The seven principles expanded within the document are;
ensure an educational purpose
integrate with other aspects of curriculum
ensure the child is in control
choose applications that are transparent
avoid applications containing violence or stereotyping
be aware of health and safety issues.
Some of these seven principles can be linked to TPACK which would encourage all ICT integration to perform an educational purpose and integrate with other aspects of the curriculum, so here I’ll look into the other five principles.
Encourage collaboration – either through simple turn taking or activities and programs which require children to work together to reach an outcome provides children with cognitive challenges and is seen as beneficial in facilitating the young child’s problem solving and social development. An interesting use for ICT’s within an early childhood facility was presented by the paper; the UK facility installed a system of CCT cameras and monitors which linked the different rooms within the facility, the children use the CCT system to communicate with other rooms and extend upon the experiences of others within their own settings, the facility also utilised email and walkie talkies, which the children used to communicate between rooms – what a great idea!
Integration and play through ICT – Interestingly, the authors of the document’s 2002 update (as opposed the the original that I began reading), make specific mention of play within the curriculum of early years programs and encourage the use and simulated use of ICTs in authentic manners through make believe play as well as in project work in order to build ICT knowings and understandings from a very early age.
Ensure the child is in control – although the authors acknowledge the usefulness of closed problem solving and programmed learning software in skill development, which may control the child’s thought process. They encourage the use of open ended software and exercises which allow for creative problem solving and multiple solutions.
Choose applications that are transparent – by this, the authors are encouraging the use of applications in which the functions are transparent, intuitive or easily accessible. They recommend drag and drop type programs or those with a single operation for each task.
Avoid applications containing violence or stereotyping – a bit of an obvious one, but something to ALWAYS check. Make sure that anything children are to use, view or listen to has been thoroughly checked, from beginning to end. Be careful of Youtube clips as the advertisements or links before and after can cause problems, in order to remove this issue when using Youtube within the classroom, simply save the Youtube clip using Keepvid, you can then email it, save it to your USB or onto your desktop without worrying about inappropriate material being attached (make sure you keep the reference details and cite the work appropriately each time it is used). I was given the Keepvid tip by my mentor teacher at my last prac site.
Be aware of health and safety issues – to combat concerns about the physical problems including posture, carpel tunnel syndrome and sight defects that may be caused by prolonged use of computers, the authors suggest that children of three years of age be limited to 10-20 minutes continuous use and that an eight year old should be limited to a maximum of 40 minutes.
A further principle, parental involvement, and the updated version of the article can be viewed at the DATEC website.