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ICT in Early Childhood Education:

"Information and communications technologies (ICT) are a diverse set of technological tools and resources used to communicate, and to create, disseminate, store, and manage information". (UNESCO, 1999).

Constructivist Educational theory posits that the practise of ICT- mediated instruction within schools promotes: 'critical thinking, problem solving, "authentic" learning experiences, social negotiation of knowledge, and collaboration' - pedagogical methods that change the role of the teacher from disseminator of information to learning facilitator. Students can now actively engage with information and materials to construct their own understandings. That is, students learn how to learn, not just what to learn.

“In early childhood education (ECCE), the term ICT includes; computer hardware and software, digital

cameras and video cameras, the Internet, telecommunication tools, programmable toys, and many

other devices and resources. ICT, now, has a profound effect on the people and environments that surround young children’s learning; these technologies offer new opportunities to strengthen many aspects of early childhood education practice. There is support and interest across the whole education sector for the development and integration of ICT into education policy, curriculum, and practice. However, there is a clear consensus that the introduction and use of ICT in early childhood education should be grounded in a clear understanding of the purposes, practices, and social context of early childhood education”. (New Zealand, Ministry of Education, 2004).

ICT has the possibility to be used in support of these new educational methods, as tools enabling students' learning by doing. ICT can make it conceivable for teachers to involve students in 'self-paced, self-directed problem-based or constructivist learning experiences; and also test student learning in new, interactive, and engaging ways that may better evaluate deep understanding of content and processes'.(Strommen & Lincoln, 1992; U.S. Department of Education, 1993).

ICT offers numerous resources and tools to help teachers and promote students learning. Children today are surrounded by technology and inevitably come into contact with various forms of ICT; thus, children need to be educated and aided on how to appropriately and effectively manage their ICT use.

Motivating learning encourages creative and critical thinking, that is, learning through experimentation and exploration (SP4CE, 2019); which entails:

  • elements of play;

  • exploring alternative approaches by thinking and looking about thing differently;

  • imaginative thinking to achieve an objective;

  • making connections with previous;

  • new learning and thinking critically about ideas, actions and outcomes.

All these activities can be reinforced by appropriate ICT tools. Such tools are:

  • Desktop and laptops

  • Projector

  • Digital cameras

  • Printer

  • Photocopier

  • Tablets

  • Popplet

  • Pen Drive

  • I-pods

  • I-pads

  • Webboards

  • Scanners

  • Microphones

  • Interactive (smart) white board

  • DVDs and CDs

  • Flash discs

  • Video Games

One can also include Special Needs Education (SNE) ICT tools for teaching and learning:

Teachers dealing with the SNE will require special ICT tools like;

  • Text magnifier

  • Head wands

  • Keyboard for Cerebral Palsy

  • Braille

  • Typing aids

  • Large prints

  • Audio books

 (Koech, 2018).

Another helpful link; “321 Free Tools for Teachers - Free Educational Technology”.

https://elearningindustry.com/321-free-tools-for-teachers-free-educational-technology

References:

Blurton. C. (1999). “New Directions of ICT-Use in Education”. UNESCO.

Retrieved from: http://www.unesco.org/education/lwf/dl/edict.pdf

UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (IITE). (2006). “ICTs IN EDUCATION FOR PEOPLE WITH SPECIAL NEEDS”.

Retrieved from: https://iite.unesco.org/pics/publications/en/files/3214644.pdf

SP4CE. (2019). “Using ICT for Teaching and Learning”.

Retrieved from: http://sp4ce.eu/en/using-ict-for-teaching-and-learning

Koech. D. (2018). “List of ICT tools for Teaching and Learning: Tech Devices for Teachers and Students”.

Retrieved from: https://kenyayote.com/list-of-ict-tools-for-teaching-and-learning-tech-devices-for-teachers-and-students/

Bolstad. R. (2004). “The Role and Potential of ICT in Early Childhood Education”.

Retrieved from: https://www.nzcer.org.nz/system/files/ictinecefinal.pdf

 

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