Experts say technology placement, features that allow for creation are factors to consider
Put a child in front of an iPad and they’ll be learning, right? Not exactly, say two early childhood experts. Thanks to extensive research, experts now know that choosing the right education technology is about pedagogy and creativity, not ways to quiet kids down.
“One of the best things you can do when choosing technology is to turn off that autopilot,” explained Fran Simon, chief engagement officer for Engagement Strategies and cofounder of the Early Childhood Technology Network (ECTN). “Be intentional and select tools that align with your curriculum objectives. Plan technology use as another tool to get the job done, like books or crayons.”
Karen Nemeth, founder and lead consultant for Language Castle and cofounder of ECTN, also emphasized that the first place to begin, before even thinking about technology, is in the tools already available in the classroom.
“Don’t fall for iPad or ‘app mania’! Technology is not always the best choice,” said Nemeth. “Apps designed for kids aren’t always better than what you may already have, and that goes for mobile devices too! Just because it’s new doesn’t mean it’s better!”
However, for when educators are interested in making the best use of education technology for early childhood classrooms, here are 10 questions to consider (*Editor’s note: These considerations could be applied to most classrooms, regardless of age):
(Next page: Technology considerations 1-5)