Kindergarten Ed Tech Explorations

Getty Images/Caiaimage/Chris Ryan

This is a self-guided tour of useful resources for early childhood educators to encourage thinking about how technology can be used in purposeful ways with young children. For a digital handout that accompanies this tour, please click here

Examining the Possibilities with Kindergartners and Technology

Here are three fun videos related to using technology in early childhood classrooms.

Next, explore these sites for other ideas. Note that these teachers are using technology with students to create and publish. They are not using tech at lower levels on Bloom's Taxonomy. Young children CAN do more sophisticated work! 

Exploring iPad Apps

iPads are amazing devices for content creation, not just consumption! Ideally, educators should strive to provide opportunities for student voice and choice, designing lessons and projects that allow students of all ages to create content. Here's a collection of apps are more focused on creation than consumption and if you haven't seen Osmo, check out this device that using iPads to create really innovative learning games for kids.

 

Other places to find high quality ed tech materials:

Publishing with Young Children

Publishing should be a universal activity in all early childhood classrooms. Check out the following iBook examples: 

Building Your Own ECE Personal Learning Network

Use social media to enhance your own learning and to connect to others. Here are a few suggestions to get started with connecting to other educators and learning from their best practices. First, join Twitter, and start following other ECE educators and organizations. Then, start participating in Kinderchat, a Twitter chat where kindergarten teachers come together to discuss relevant topics and share resources. Finally, start finding ideas for your classroom by perusing the following blogs and pinterest boards.

Blogs

Pinterest

Investigating Making and Tinkering

The Maker Education movement is growing within US schools.

What does this look like in early childhood classrooms? Starting points for further exploration may include TinkerLab and a free Tinkering course offered through Coursera called Tinkering Fundamentals: A Constructionist Approach to STEM Learning. Some early childhood classrooms are also exploring the possibilities of digital making through robotics and coding. Check out Bee-Bots, Dash and Dot, Kinderlab Robotics, and Sphero

Connecting Globally

The first step to connecting globally is to get connected yourself. Use social media to meet other teachers, and you'll find that project opportunities will organically happen. Projects tend to be more successful when professional relationships are established first; people just seem to be more invested if connections happen first.

If you are new to global projects, you'll want to get to the point where you're co-designing experiences for students with virtual colleagues.

In the meantime, join existing communities and projects in order to get a feel for the project design process.

Below are a few starting points and exemplars:

Thinking About PD and Additional Resources 

Face to face professional development opportunities also an ideal way to participate in professional development. For early childhood specific events, we recommend the NAEYC Annual Conference and the Leveraging Learning conference. For general ed tech information, think about attending ISTE and if you're interested in creative uses of technology and the Maker Movement, consider attending Constructing Modern Knowledge

Also, the Chicago-based Erikson Institute has a site devoted to the role of educational technology in early years classrooms.  This site is a unique resource dedicated to helping early childhood professionals and families make informed decisions about tech.

Finally, we've curated a massive list of ECE resources in an Evernote notebook. We'll be continuing to add to this, and are welcome to browse our collection!