Technology and young children: What Parents Should Know
National Association for the Education of Young Children
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Integrate Computers in the Early Childhood Curriculum
It is not unusual to see a young child today slip a CD into a stereo system, set a digital alarm clock, or even program a VCR. Children quickly learn to use technology that is part of their daily lives, often with greater ease than their parents or other adults. But does their ability to do these complex tasks really enhance childrens development? Does using technology really teach children new skills? What should parents know about the role of technology in childrens learning?
According to NAEYCs Young Children: Active Learners in a Technological Age, computers can be active or passive agents for learning. Parents who recognize the difference will choose appropriate computer programs for their children.
As passive users, children utilize tools with no understanding of the concepts represented on the screen. The computer becomes an electronic worksheet that asks children to memorize without comprehending. As active agents for learning, computers extend childrens abilities, helping them to accomplish goals and objectives. In active use, children understand the relationship between real ideas and what is being represented on the screen. Constructing relationships between pictures and concrete objects helps children establish meaning.
In order to promote effective computer learning, parents should monitor the quality of the software children use, the amount of time children work with it, and the way in which they use it.
What should you teach your preschool children about technology?
Here are some suggestions:
Some parents express concerns about the role of technology in childrens lives, such as how it will affect childrens attention to social relationships and other activities. Appropriate computer programs promote dialog between children, as well as group problem-solving. They also offer opportunities for shared experiences between parents and children. As partners in our childrens learning, we may not only monitor their educational environments, but we may experience their progress first-hand.
Checking out good software for children:
Wright, J.L. & D.D. Shade, Young children: Active learners in a technological age. NAEYC #341/$7.
The adventure begins: Preschool and technology. NAEYC video series. #827/$20.
To receive a copy of NAEYCs position statement on "Technology and Young Children, Ages 3 through 8," see the September 1996 issue of Young Children, or send a SASE to: NAEYC Public Affairs Box #602 1509 16th St., NW Washington, DC 20036-1426.Back to the Table of Contents
For more information, contact:National Association for the Education of Young Children
1509 16th Street, N.W.,
Washington, DC 20036-1426
Phone: (202) 232-8777 or (800) 424-2460
Fax: (202) 328-1846
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