Many types of technology
can be used as additional options for learning. It is not necessary
to purchase technologymany libraries, schools and community
organizations allow others to borrow equipment or use it while visiting
There is no one answer
on what type of technology to buy, or even whether to buy additional
items. For younger children especially, the best choice may be
no new technology or using what you have in a new way.
recorders record children reading aloud or telling their
own stories, poems, and songs, and let them listen to stories
recorded by others.
record skits, performances and presentations on film, video
or in a digital form. Children can tell a story in pictures
and dictate the captions.
play back recordings of activities and tapes that the children
machines reach out to other child care centers, to schools,
to outside organizations, to gather information, invite guest
speakers, and to keep in touch with parents.
microscopes display magnified images on the computer screen.
These handheld microscopes allow children to explore and investigate
the world around them.
let children access information and explore make-believe worlds;
they can create, draw and write, and analyze (compare and contrast,
sort, and categorize) information. Computers can also be used
to communicate with others around the world.
Using a computer does
not automatically ensure that learning will take place. Technology
has great potential, but to be effective, it must be planned for
and managed. Consider these questions as you begin planning.
- What will the computer be used forhow can it help
reach learning goals?
- What will computer use replace, and are the tradeoffs
- Will children's developmental needs be met
If you decide that
a computer is the right answer for your situation, consider these
- Think ahead to what
you will want the computer to do a year from now. Keep in mind,
however, that bigger is not always betteryou may be paying
for something you don't need.
- Word processors
and spreadsheets will run on relatively simple computers.
- CD-ROM encyclopedias,
hypermedia, and Internet use require a more powerful machine.
- Newer software
may require a CD-ROM drive.
- Developmental software
programs, with features such as verbal instructions and the
child in control of changing situations, have certain memory
and performance requirements.
- Some software may
run on only one type of operating system.
- If you plan to add
external devices such as a scanner or digital camera the computer
needs to be able to connect with them.
- Games, which require
the fastest, most powerful machines, are not necessary in a
child care program.
(peripherals) you may want to add:
- Internet access
requires a telephone line, a modem (the device that connects
the computer with the outside world through the telephone line),
and ongoing telephone access, or access to a network connection
- Printers are necessary
for a paper copy of a child's work.
input information into a computer.
for Information on Selecting a Computer
- Talk with colleagues
and knowledgeable friends.
- Stop by the library
and skim through current computer magazines that are geared
toward the general public.
- Publications that
provide consumer information can be helpful.
- Computer magazines
have up-to-date information on products and pricing.
- If looking in stores,
go to businesses that carry more than one type of computer,
or visit more than one store.
- Look at sites on
the Internet for information.