Tech Savvy Preschoolers

If you have a little one starting kindergarten next year you may be surprised how learning has changed dramatically since you went to school.

Former teacher and tutor with over 40 years experience, Elinka Jacobs explains what you need to know about preparing your child for technology at school and how to best harness the use of technology.

“What most parents don’t realize is teaching has changed a lot since they went to school.”said Elinka.

Kindergarten classes now have the following features:

1. A chalkboard that is now an interactive whiteboard where children can draw with a mouse and touchscreen

2. The tape recorder is now replaced by an ipod. Thank goodness!

3. Computers, students now can suddenly become international travellers and global citizens of the world with a click on the computer’s internet.

So how do we prepare pre-schoolers for the challenge of using technology in kindergarten?

A visit to Pinterest have hundreds of assessments for technological skills beginning in preschool!

One example is as follows:

iPad Checklist

I can turn an iPad on and off

I can slide my finger to unlock iPad

I can swipe from screen to screen on an iPad

I can open an app on an iPad

I know how to turn the volume on an iPad

I can find and use the home button

I can close an app on an iPad

I can take a photo using my iPad

( source:classroom management)

It often amazes me seeing preschool children in restaurants enthralled with their ipads, so when I read an article on titled “Give children ipads from birth-they’re better than books, say scientists” I can see, that agree or not, the reality is that technology will become a very important learning aid in the future.

Annett Karmiloff-Smith, who was leading the research, says tablets should be part of a baby’s world from birth, adding” children learn so fast on tablets. It is shocking how fast they learn-even faster than adults-to do things like scroll up and down.”

I know there will be a lot of comment and discussion regarding the use of ipads in early learning, but I feel the most important thing is that parents should be aware of the positives of the growing use of technology in education and acknowledge the impact it will have for their children.

“An app can be educational by design, but the way you interact with your child while they’re playing is what matters most,” says Dr Yelland.

“It’s important to have a conversation with your child about what they’re playing, what they enjoy about it and what you think they could learn from it,” Yelland says.

“It’s the conversation that makes it educational, and you’ll be surprised by the amazing conversations you might have.”

Computers are and will continue to be an integral part of the modern day classroom. In an article in the Daily Telegraph, teaching was a job that had a low risk of being automated with a 4% chance of being automated in the next 20 year(PwC reports).  So it was interesting to read a Year 1 teacher say that “technology such as tablets are essential tools for creative learning” and teachers who prepare students for this technologically changing world, will be in high demand.

What an exciting time it is to be a teacher. Technology is here to help cognitive processes in reading,writing or maths but importantly cannot replace social interaction,bonding and close contact. So the challenge is to balance a really great resource and tool for education and development with all those wonderful hands on activities.

When parents and teachers come together to support their children the results are amazing.

To find out more on how to prepare your child for kindergarten download the Start Smart School App for only $2.99

The app is based on the NSW curriculum. It is designed to help preschool-aged children learn their letter names and sounds, colours, practice handwriting, draw shapes, and count numbers to 20.