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WELCOME to Chicago - the Windy City - for the world's biggest early education conference . . BY. Colleen Finegan. Early Childhood / Early Childhood Special Education. Wright State University.

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WELCOME to Chicago - the Windy City - for the world's biggest early education conference.



Colleen Finegan

Early Childhood / Early Childhood Special Education

Wright State University

the future is here7
The future is here

Video Games

the future is here8
The future is here

Integrated Learning Systems


and here

Virtual Reality

Networked - for cooperative interaction


And here!

Interactive Programs


And here!

Assistive Technology


And here!

Interactive Videodisk- based programs



And here!

Hands-on Interactive Learning


And here!

….Cooperative Activities

….Open-ended Creative Problem Solving

….Reward structures



The future is here:

  • "The Internet Is becoming a staple in U.S. Education” (IDC, 2000)
  • “Technology plays a significant role in all aspects of American life today and this role will only increase in the future” (NAEYC 1996)

Research shows that:

  • Many parents believe that
  • technology can only
  • benefit
  • their children.
  • (The Milken Exchange,1999 -

Research shows that:

  • 87% of parents believe that:
  • technology would a
  • strong impact on learning
  • and make a significant difference in the quality of their children's education.
  • (The Milken Exchange,1999 -

Research shows that:

  • Households with students are more likely to have internet access than those without students.
  • Students are helping families to justify the investment in both PCs and access to the Web (IDC, 2000)

Research shows that:

  • ”More than 76% of U.S. PC households with students are accessing the Internet, and almost 70% [of these} are using it to complete school work" (

Education has not followed suite:

  • Although Teacher preparation programs require courses in the basic use and in theintegration of technology into the curriculum.
  • Although many more teachers are computer literate, they often still fail to bring Computer technology into their classrooms
  • (Haugland, 1997b).

Research shows that:

Many teacher preparation programs” arenot providing the kind of training and exposure teachers need…to be proficient and comfortable Can Computer technology with their teaching".

(Milken Exchange & ISTE, 1999)


ISTE developed technology standards for pre-service and in-service teachers, and for students at various ages and stages.(

Addressing and meeting these standards is required by NCATE


General computer literacy and information management is fast becoming a part of our daily lives.

“The integration of computers is now part of our personal, educational, employment and social technological progress” (


Although it is clear that technology has become a fundamental force in the educational field--

Whenshould children be introduced to computers as an educational medium?

? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?


Although it is clear that technology has become a fundamental force in the educational field--

Is technology, and learning through technologicalappropriatefor everyone?

? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?


In particular, is it a safe and effective way for our young learners to learn?

What might theyNOTlearn as a result of acquiring skills in computer technology?

? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?


The debate continues…..


? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?


..."to become productive adults in an increasingly computer-oriented society, children should have the opportunity to become comfortable with computers early in their lives”… (Haugland, 2000)


However, many educational experts feel that computers should not be used by children under three years of age.

Under 3, most youngsters are in the sensorimotorstage of development, learning through the senses and by movement. (Haugland, 1999)


The way that the computer is used can benefitthe child,

have no effect whatsoever,

or actually be


tothe child's academic

and personal growth”.

(NAEYC, 1996b; Shade & Watson, 1990).


Like crayons, blocks, or other learning resources, computers are neither good nor bad.

The effect of computers depends upon how they are utilized.

(Haugland, 1992)


Adults need to make wise choices regarding appropriate experiences for young children.

(Haugland, 1992)


Unbridled computer usage,(as unregulated use of other multi-media tools) is not an educationally sound practice


Various aspects of using technology need to be taken into consideration, which are correlated with the wise use of technology as a learning tool…...


It is not WHETHER computers are used

with young children,

but HOW computer are used.


How computers are used is dependent on several factors:

  • the knowledge of the teacher in general.
  • the computer expertise of the teacher.
  • technical and curricular support available.

How computers are used

is dependent on several factors:

  • the softwareavailable.
  • the way the computer and software are used.
  • the classroom environment.

the knowledge / expertise of the teacher

It is well recognized that the teacher is central to the successful integration of computer usage be Developmentally Appropriate?.


the knowledge / expertise of the teacher

Teachers need to be provided the time to experiment with the technology on their own.

Time restraints and scheduling conflicts often leave little time to investigate the possibilities offered their students.


the knowledge / expertise of the teacher

When a teacher has used a specific program, “it is much easier to begin to think and plan how it can be used effectively to enhance a particular interest, theme, or activity”

(Kneas, 1999)


the computer expertise of the teacher

The teacher needs to be very computer literate through pre-service and in-service training


technical support

Often enthusiastic educators will begin to lose their interest in and commitment to technology when computers and multi-media devices do not operate efficiently and as they should.


technical support

Administration and staff need to develop a support system and provide technical and informational assistance for teachers.


curricular support

Teachers must possess effective knowledge of how to make technology developmentally and individually appropriate for young children.


Appropriate software

The characteristics of the software may significantly impact

children's development in specific areas.

(Quigley, 1996)


Appropriate software

The use of some computer software programs

will raise IQ levels,


particularly drill and skill programs,

may slow development and even stifle creativity

in children.

(Quigley, 1996)


Appropriate software

Consider the child's ability on the computer itself.

Don’t overestimate a child's ability

to comprehend the material

contained in the program based on the ability to manipulate the mouse

or click on icons

(Elkind, 1996).


Appropriate software

Developmental software must provide enough flexibility to “match the child’s current level of understanding and skills, while growing with the child”.

(Haugland, 1997)


Appropriate software

Teachers should obtain software which engages children in

“creative play,

mastery learning,

problem solving,


NAEYC, 1996


Appropriate software

Software programs should be used that are


providing children a sense of

control over their environment

and a

sense of pride in accomplishments.

(Badgett & Snider, 1995)


Appropriate software

Example: Software in which the child draws or paints with various size and colors of brushes.

The child is encouraged to freely and playfully explore lines, shapes, and colors with little emphasis on product.

(Shade, 1992).


the way the computer and software are used

Teachers should not give up all the traditional developmental activities they normally provide, but should begin to think of and use computers as they would any other material.


the way the computer and software are used

Teachers need to see technology as another manipulative opportunity offered to their students and not as a separate entity in the classroom.


the way the computer and software are used

Teachers should use computers less for drill and practice and more as tools to develop open-ended thinking skills and content resources.


the way the computer and software are used

The appropriate focus for computer activity in ECE should not be solely on academic or cognitive skills.


the way the computer and software are used

To do so is not developmentally appropriate and denies some of the computer's greatest benefits: creativity, open-ended problem-solving and social and linguistic development.


the way the computer and software are used

Teachers should not view computer usage as a solitary and passive activity,

but as a creative and dynamic opportunity for social interaction and development of languageand interactional skills.


the way the computer and software are used

The acquisition of language skills is an essential developmental task

so the use of technology

"shouldn't come at the expense of more critical activities, such as talking and playing with friends".

(Furger ,1999)


Research shows that:

With the creative and dynamic use of computers in the classroom, researchers have consistently observed

high levels of spoken communication andcooperation as young children interact on the computer.

(Clements, Nastasi, & Swaminathan, 1993).


the classroom environment

“Computers must be viewed as learning environments with multiple capabilities to support and enhance student learning as an important medium for instruction”.

(Anderson et al, 1999)


the classroom environment

Early Childhood Educators should use materials that "support positive, cooperative interaction, and opportunities to engage in social interaction…

(Bronson, 1995).


the classroom environment

and (should provide) adult guidance to prevent problems and support for cooperatively resolving problems that do occur”

(Bronson, 1995).


the classroom environment

Teachers take great care in choosing appropriate play materials to use with their students in order to promote learning in the classroom.


the classroom environment

Such consideration should also be applied to computer use with young children as well.



The integration of technology is an exciting new media that can become a playful addition to the learning environment when several factors are considered:

  • Comprehensive teacher knowledge
  • Critical examination of software,
  • Creation of an environment in which computers are included in a developmentally appropriate manner.


When these factors are taken into consideration, early childhood educators can begin to reap the potential benefits offered by the technology in all areas of child development.