Using Technology to Educate Young Learners

The use of technology can make content that is spoken and read come alive.  For example, I organized a summer camp that included content that contained arts, science, and history.  I called it Camp Discovery. Lessons were done several days to prepare the students for each field trip to help them be engaged on the trips we took.  One week, we studied weather by the use of printed material and videos. I called our local city for DVD materials on disaster preparedness that included weather readiness.

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This enabled the students to become familiar with some of the terms that are used by weather forecasters and we finished the week with a visit to the weather museum. The students got to use the museum’s television camera and interactively created a mock weather broadcast. This helped the students to learn about how they produce a televised weather segment of the news.

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They also participated in a guided tour that included educating them on how certain weather conditions form, which included a tornado machine that produced winds that were simulated like a tornado.

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This event was science-related and the students were connected, and learned not just from a book, but was able to apply their knowledge through the experience of visiting the museum. The knowledge that these students gleaned from this was of a greater depth. The curriculum content included technology in the form of video, as a resource mixed with printed material that was discussed as a class.

The students that I teach are Pre-K and Kinder-Gardeners, and are at different developmental levels because they come from various economic and cultural environments. One area they share in common is the frequent exposure to movies and videos for entertainment. With this in mind, while reading “Charlotte’s Web,” with an app called, Overdrive, on a tablet connected to a monitor I show them that this book and others are accessible from the library free on a tablet to read.

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After reading a few chapters, I received so many questions about pigs that I decided to research some background information about pigs. Then, I was able to facilitate a discussion about the book by using a National Geographic’s video, as a resource. The students asked about words like “runt” and “manure” that came up in the discussion to create the definition. The growth of the pig and why the pig liked being in the mud was also discussed by the class. So, the act of reading was not just the letters on the page, it became a cognitive exercise that was initiated by the students. The printed page was not excluded, but was included with additional information obtained from a technological resource, which made the book come alive. This small scale use of technology has given me a glimpse of the possibilities of digital literacy.

Contributing to the use of technology in education is important to me. After reading an article by Syed Noor, I realized that ICT’s (information and communication technology) inclusion in the teaching and learning process will continue to increase. Therefore, this will promote the quality and availability of education, while improving academic performance.

 

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