Especially with Chesney.
Every parent wants their child to have a jump start on learning and ensure they are prepared for a world of learning, especially with technology. And I am no different. I want Chesney to love learning, be an explorer and tinker with things but also be a fluent user of technology. So in my spare time I am always on the hunt for ways to support her as a learner.
I am a big fan of Tiggly when it comes to Early Childhood and technology. Tiggly are manipulatives used in conjunction with apps for the iPad. The manipulatives teach things like shapes, colors, letter sounds and more. The apps are highly engaging and Chesney loves them. She will sit with her letters making words and then, the best part, she can create a digital story using the words she learned.
Now, my background isn’t in Early Childhood. (The closest I came was that one day I spent observing in a Kindergarten classroom during college.) So I would never claim to know all that there is to know about Early Childhood education, especially when it comes to the infusion of technology.
Lucky for me the International Society for Technology In Education (ISTE) has a lot of resources for anyone who is interested in enhancing Early Childhood with technology.
ISTE Standards-The best starting point are the ISTE Standards for Students. While not written specifically for Early Childhood education, all of them can be used in that setting. Each Standard is broken down into sub parts to help guide kids in understanding areas like creativity, information fluency, critical thinking and more. It’s never too young, for example, to work with kids on the aspects related to digital citizenship. The Standards provide a framework on what to focus on and also provides resources to help meet those goals, with a particular emphasis on Early Childhood education.
Early Learning Network-Part of my advocacy work revolves around helping educators discover the power of connected professional learning. ISTE has a whole set of Professional Learning Networks for members to do just that, connect with other educators. For Early Childhood professionals there is the Early Learning Network. With over 1000 members and over 160 discussions you are sure to connect with others to learn from and grow with.
Tech as a Tool for Going Global in Early Childhood Webinar-Another great feature that ISTE has is their webinar series. For Early Childhood Educators this webinar on the tech tools to use in the Early Childhood classroom to go global is not to miss. As with many of the things we’ve discussed here, the earlier we start with helping kids navigate the digital world, the more they will be prepared as they get older.
If you are going to be at ISTE 2016 in Denver you can also learn more about Tiggly and loads of other Early Childhood technology in the Early Childhood Playground. There will be lots of hands-on stuff to play with and experts to help talk to you about how to do more with tech with our youngest students.
In addition to these resources there are countless articles and blog posts to explore as well!
Some might think that young kids and technology don’t mix. I disagree. There are so many great and simple to use technologies that can enhance the excitement for learning that kids at that age already have. And these are the perfect years to start conversations about digital literacy and citizenship.
So check out all the great resources Tiggly and ISTE have to offer!