In the wake of current advances in technology, various possibilities have been enabled, especially on communication (through mobile phone technology and the internet) and learning or education. However, the effects have not only been confined to adults since children are equally using technology. On average, a modern child spends time using technological gadgets like tablets, mobile phones and even accessing the internet since it is free without restriction. Since many children are becoming tech savvy, researchers in the educational sector are equally coming up with ways or recommendations on how technology can be incorporated into children’s learning. Aside from the usual use of technology, technology-enabled learning has been identified to improve the cognitive skills and learning abilities among children. In this research, the central argument is that appropriate application of technology as well as interactive media in childhood education entails promoting interaction and engagement by adopting children’s style of learning, using technology to enhance their cognitive and social abilities and improving engagement and information sharing between parents, families and the educator.
From research evidence, the most appropriate use of technology, as well as interactive media, should be pursued by promoting active, engaging, empowering whereby children are given the powers to take control. In this case, supporting children’s learning depends on how technology-based learning and interactive media provides the children with the opportunities of controlling learning activities, ease of adaptability, and as such, promoting engagement (Couse & Chen, 2010). Besides, engagement and ease of use imply that using technology and interactive media will integrate opportunities and core experiences of children. Accordingly, Moberly (2012) noted that for young children, they require or need tools that will enhance how they explore, create, consider, solve problems, engage in critical thinking, make the appropriate decisions, do research, observe, participate in investigation, learn and as such, demonstrate or apply their learned skills. On the same note, Couse and Chen (2010) supported the suggestion of integrating technology in children’s learning through the promotion of engagement and exploitation of the learning opportunities presented by technology and interactive media. Accordingly, it is believed that for children, their interaction with technology will solely be implemented by ensuring that the tasks promote playful interactions, support their creativity and consider other factors that pretend and active play as well as integrated their outdoor activities.
We can do it today.
Nonetheless, research currently supports that technology should be used appropriately in early childhood learning in improving social and cognitive abilities. The suggestion is that for technology and interactive media, the opportunities can be used in extending the learning experiences among early childhood settings just like the traditional learning approaches like art materials, blocks, play materials (Ching-Ting, Ming-Chaun & Chin-Chung, 2014). For technology, screen media can be used in exposing children to objects, animals, landscapes, people, places and activities which are beyond their reach or experiences. Also, proper use of technology involves how it is used to help students to learn how to document, save, revisit and share their real-life experiences, especially through visual possibilities like images, sounds, and stories. In essence, De Vries, (2013) also supported that active and wise use of interactive media and technology can also entail extending the traditional learning materials. Moreover, detailed research has argued that technology and other medium of interaction like the internet (social medial) when used appropriately, can positively affect learning and promote effective development among children, more so enhancing their social and cognitive abilities (Ching-Ting et al., 2014)
Appropriate use of technology for enhancing younger children’s learning also involves using the gadgets to improve or strengthen school and home connections. Technology has become a means of information sharing; hence early childhood educators can use this possibility of increasing family and parent engagement in a child’s learning (Keengwe & Onchwari, 2009). According, early childhood educators are tasked with the responsibilities of supporting parents as well as families through information sharing on the child’s development. On the other hand, technology is providing the opportunity for increased and efficient exchange of information and enhances communication, and as such, the sharing of online resources with families and parents. Also, parents can make good use of technology in asking questions, seeking advice, sharing information about the child’s development, promoting free engagement in the learning program and improving the child’s experience.
In summary, current research on early childhood learning and integration of technology outlines some of the best and appropriate approaches to which technology can be used in improving early childhood education. For one, wise use of technology entails allowing children to interact, engage and take control of their learning encounters, be used to promote social and cognitive skills through visual aids. Children embrace playful learning. Therefore, it is necessary to use technology by integrating the experiences of children within the real-life contexts. Also, it is best to use technology and interactive media to improve communication and engagement with parents, especially on information sharing on online resources like social media.
- Ching-Ting, H., Ming-Chaun, L., & Chin-Chung, T. (2014). The influence of young children’s use of technology on their learning: A review. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 17(4), 85-99.
- Couse, L. J., & Chen, D. W. (2010). A tablet computer for young children? Exploring its viability for early childhood education. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 43(1), 75-98.
- De Vries, P. (2013). The use of technology to facilitate music learning experiences in preschools. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 38(4), 5-12.
- Keengwe, J. & Onchwari, G. (2009). Technology and early childhood education: A technology integration professional development model for practicing teachers. Early Childhood Educ J (2009) 37, 209–218.
- Moberly, D. (2012). 6 Key principles.. T H E Journal, 39(8), 45.