I hope you are excited about joining our summer book study of Teaching in the Digital Age, by Brian Puerling. Just a reminder: If you would like to follow all discussions of the book, go to PreschoolSpot.com and click “Subscribe to Email” or “Subscribe to RSS” at the top. You’ll also want to have a copy of the book handy, so be sure to use the discount code STUDY for 35% off when you order the book from Redleaf Press.
Vanessa Levin at Pre-K Pages hosted this chapter, so be sure to head over to her blog to read her response to chapter 1. Everyone who is responding to the post via blog is linking their post in the “linky”, so be sure to check out those sites as well.
Chapter 1: The Digital Classroom
“[Educators] worry about the excessive screen time in children’s lives today.”
- Carol Copple
Going back to the forward, I like what Carol Copple said about early education teachers sometimes having fears of using technology in the classroom. I guess I can admit to having some of those “fears” myself at times, because whenever I hand a child my iPad, what always happens? Everyone gravitates to the one iPad in the room. I look around the room and half the class has left the cutting and gluing, or motorcycle building with big blocks, or styling the baby doll’s hair. We know how important those physical and sensory and dramatic play activities are for children, and we don’t want to see them all so completely absorbed in a computer or iPad that they neglect everything else in the room.
Still, there are other ways of using technology in the classroom besides a Technology Center at free choice time, which the book delves into in more detail in later chapters.
Show children how to use nature webcams… to peek into an eagle’s nest and watch eagles raise their young, observing and discussing what eagles eat, where they live, and how that connects to their own lives.”
- Bonnie Blagojevic
I think we as teachers need to reflect on what we give children to do with technology to make sure we are not merely giving them entertainment, but something of value that furthers their knowledge.
I certainly don’t have a fear of the technology itself because I’m a gadget girl, but that is a legitimate fear for some teachers. What “non-techy” teachers will most take away from this chapter is Puerling’s advice to try one strategy first. Do not overwhelm yourself. I think that is good advice even for teachers who are accustomed to using technology — if you are trying to add new technology to the classroom, do not try to do everything at once. This chapter gives a list of factors to determine which strategy to try first.
Integrating technology in the classroom is a reality for most of us. One of the indicators for the Work Sampling System for preschool assessment is “begins to be aware of technology and how it affects life,” and so, we have to give children opportunities in the classroom and observe and record the children’s use of technology. (That can mean something as simple as putting old cell phones in the dramatic play area.)
I thought the list of examples of infusing technology into the Preschool and Kindergarten classroom was helpful. On page 13, it mentions having children use an iPad reflex app to develop hand-eye coordination, so I had to check those out. I found two free apps that could be used with children. One is Reflex Test, which has different levels to choose from and another, called Super Tap, is made just for kids. Super Tap starts slow and gets faster if you do well.
I used two apps for my own use while reading the book. One is Evernote, which I used to take notes as I read. I use Evernote frequently for many things, and I love that it syncs so easily between my computer and iPad. The other app I used is Qrafter, which scans the QR codes in the book so you can watch videos related to the chapter. All of the apps I have mentioned are free in the iTunes store.
Be sure to share your thoughts about the chapter in the comments below.