In this piece Terri Connolly shares her views on the role of digital technology in the early years classroom.
As an early years teacher I have experienced first-hand progress in the use of technology and the impacts on the younger learner. We are all aware that children should have opportunities in their education to use a wide variety of technology. The resources that are available in my establishment are not the most currently available. Our retro Listening Centre had cassette tapes and children were mesmerised that a plastic case could play music. After discussion, we upgraded our listening centre to a CD version. This is now also seen as ‘old school’, as children are used to music being delivered through small digital devices. Pressures on education budgets can make it difficult to keep up to date. I believe that the use of digital technology in education will be given a higher profile now that the digital learning and teaching strategy has been launched.
The strategy advocates wide use of digital technology to enhance children’s learning. Sharing professional knowledge is important. At present I use E Profiles for evidence and assessment of children’s learning. I have encouraged other Early Year teachers to use the same. In the future, I aim to involve parents/carers in these and to include and develop home partnership links. I also use an Interactive Whiteboard (IWB) and sometimes get to use the Infant C Touch.
To enable the continuing use of up to date digital technology for learners and educators, in my view, certain barriers need to be addressed. These are:
- Time for developing skills/use/reflection/networking/research
- Resources appropriate for development stage of children/current/accessible
- Training to empower users