EDTC6104 ISTE-3 Digital Age Learning Evironments

Digital Learning in Kindergarten

Technology coaches create and support effective digital age learning environments to maximize the learning of all students.

3b – Maintain and manage a variety of digital tools and resources for teacher and student use in technology-rich learning environments
3d – Select, evaluate, and facilitate the use of adaptive and assistive technologies to support student learning
3f – Collaborate with teachers and administrators to select and evaluate digital tools and resources that enhance teaching and learning and are compatible with the school technology infrastructure

Inquiry Question: What kind of digital tools can enhance kindergarten’s student learning? What factors need teacher to be focused when they are looking for the digital tools for younger students?

Retrieved from Gryphon House

First Step into Digital World

Kindergarten is a crucial period for children to develop and form mindset and cognition. Children are growing up in the digital world, and it is educators responsibility to pave the path for them to meet the 21st century’s demands. Preschool teachers are also inspired to strive for exploring appropriate digital tools embedded into pedagogy to meet intrinsic characteristics of younger students to build connections between the real-world and digital world. Younger students develop a sense of initiative and creativity through exploring and using a variety of tools. They use crayons, blocks to create things to build an image of the world. We can use digital tools to make something impossible to be possible for young children, providing colorful,  productive and meaningful ways to scaffold younger children to understand and touch the real world. 

Build a Solid Foundation For Kindergarten Students

Digital tools and recourses should allow younger students to have authentic learning

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the Fred Rogers Center state that “appropriate experiences with technology and media allow children to control the medium and the outcome of the experience, to explore the functionality of these tools, and pretend how they might be used in real life.” Early educators should mindfully determine what digital tools can be used in the classroom based on the Three C’s: the content, the context, and the needs of the individual child. The goal is to extend younger students authentic learning experiences to foster the ability to leverage technology wisely to develop cognition, explore real-world, and present themselves.  

We always need to ensure that digital tools and resources get younger students thinking and questioning.

Young age students will always having curious and interests to lead deeper learning. Teachers need to make sure the digital tools and resources that can trigger young students to think and question and get them empowered to have independent learning. 

Digital tools allow students to create artifacts

In kindergarten, we always have students who are shy and quiet cannot get engaged in learning activities. But in my iPad class, these students are active when they use digital tools to create artifacts collaboratively (animation, digital story) to demonstrate themselves. They can build confidence from interacting and sharing with peers and parents using digital tools to create.  Use technology in effective and meaningful ways that can make young students be positive creators instead of passive consumers. 

Digital tools allow teacher to track student learning process

It is important to create an environment from young age to experience independent learning with digital tools. The digital tool which has tracking feature can make teachers clearly on every student learning process. It will be possible to implement blended learning or flipped classroom to cultivate independent learning ability with digital tools from younger age. 

Choose the Appropriate Tools

In the digital world, it always has digital tools thriving from time to time, which will overwhelm teachers to look for the right ones from the endless of resources. Common Sense Media provides reliable reviews and rating of digital tools in education sorted by different level of age. Teachers can get great resources as a recommendation from the Best Apps.

https://www.commonsensemedia.org

Whenever you are using digital tools, look at the elements of motivation for learning. The following characteristics are crucial for obtaining and sustaining interest and extended learning for young children:

Developmentally appropriate content: The content should inspire the young student to keep moving on and help them to connect with real-world

Childish interface: young students can control the functions of the digital tool easily 

Wait time: Young students have limited patience. Don’t drain out their interests on longer loading time or processing time.

Incentives and interactive: can produce digital artifacts to present or share with others

Goal: have to have an innovative part of motivating the student to create

Evaluate Digital Tools

Whenever pilot new digital tools, teachers or tech coaches need to evaluate the effects on learning.

Digital Tool Review
TOOL NAME
User Experience
Is the content presented in a clear way?
Dose the tool offer easy navigation?
Is the tool childishly pleasing?
Are there many distractive features in the content ?  
Learning Practice
What skills can learners practice? Are these skills meet learning goal?
How much control do learners have over the pace of learning? 
Tracking Learning
Can users set their own learning goals?
Are there self-assessment opportunities?
Can teachers observe learners’ progress?
Social Interaction
What opportunities are there for communication between learners?
What collaborative opportunities are there?
What kind of communities can develop?  
Learning Outcomes
Can learners be motivated to question more?
Can learners connect to real-world and solve real-world problems?
Can learners build right cognition of real-world?
What kind of final product can this tool present?
Technical information
What internet connection does this tool need?
Is this tool compatible on other kinds of devices?

References:

How to choose digital resources and tools for your classroom. Retrieved from 
https://thedigitalteacher.com/blog/how-to-choose-digital-resources-and-tools-for-your-classroom

How we nurture children hasn’t changed, even if tools has become digital. Retrieved from https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/commentary-how-we-nurture-children-hasn-t-changed-even-if-tools-9275330

Selected examples of effective classroom practice involving technology tools and interactive media. Retrieved from https://www.naeyc.org/sites/default/files/globally-shared/downloads/PDFs/resources/topics/PS_technology_Examples.pdf

Jeffs, T. (2014). Preschoolers in the digital sandbox. Retrieved from 
https://www.edutopia.org/blog/preschoolers-in-the-digital-sandbox-tara-jeffs

Johnson, K. (2016). Resources to help you choose the digital tools your classroom needs. Retrieved from
https://www.edsurge.com/news/2016-03-15-resources-to-help-you-choose-the-digital-tools-your-classroom-needs

Zielezinski, M. (2016). What 7 factors should educators consider when choosing digital tools for underserved students? Retrieved from
https://www.edsurge.com/news/2016-06-25-what-7-factors-should-educators-consider-when-choosing-digital-tools-for-underserved-students


3 thoughts on “Digital Learning in Kindergarten”

  1. The Common Sense Media web site is a great resource for teachers and parents! I particularly like the focus on tracking of learning. Too often, digital tools do not provide teachers or parents the data they need to assess how their student or child is using a particular tool. This is critical to teachers to identify areas that may need additional instruction or other support – even suggesting to parents a particular focus with home study. Obviously, the more engaging the tool, the more likely a student or child will be excited about using the tool outside of the classroom – so the user experience is critical to success for all of these digital tools.

  2. Teaching how to be use technology responsibly with younger students is so important. I like that you focused on how digital tools can bring authentic, real world learning into the classroom and allow students to create artifacts that help build their confidence. I also liked that you brought up how teachers can learn to choose appropriate tools for their classrooms that help track the progress of their students’ learning. I also feel Common Sense Media is a wonderful resource and gives teachers the resources they need to be effective teachers. Great post Helen!

  3. Seeing students who tend to be more shy and quiet become engaged and actively interacting with their community is so exciting and I agree that digital tools and resources can be a wonderful way to tap into this. You are spot on when talking about how it is our responsibility to help pave the path to meet 21st Century demands that our youngest students will experiencing. Thank you for the direction of where to go to find the best resources out there more easily in order to follow through on this responsibility!

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