Children require social and
physical experiences to move from the concrete learning stage. They
gain the skills/ability to understand symbolic and abstract levels by
these experiences. Technology can be used to support children's developmental
needs, if the computer use does not replace time spent on the important
foundation skills of the early years.
and Emotional Development
- Arrange the space to
allow for social interactions, easy access, and good visibility
at the computers
- Plan activities that
require need 2 or 3 students to work together, or require the help
- Have extra chairs at
- Ask open-ended questions
about children's work and talk with them about what they are doing
- Display children's work
around the classroom
- Encourage parents to
ask questions of their children, to work or explore programs together,
and to share their experiences with one another
- Plan for children to
use all the senses when working on the computer.
- Select software
that provides spoken words and music as well as pictures on
- Let children have
experiences in the "real world" as well as in the
- If they create an
imaginary place on the computer, let them build a model of the
place with blocks and boxes, modeling clay, and other materials.
- Allow lots of time for
children to interact with things in their environment. Make sure
that computer time is balanced by greater time with physical objects.
- Children need time
to develop memory and imagery before the images are provided
- Increase attention
and build memory and visualization skills by limiting screen
time. Young children's attention naturally jumps around, but
flashing images and constantly moving graphics may make it harder
for children to attend to activities for sustained periods.
- A total of one hour
per day of all screen time combined -- television, computer and
video--is a good target.
- Connect letters and
numbers with concepts in the real world. To teach the letter A
show things that begin with that letter, have children write the
letter, and find it in written text or on the screen. Link the number
4 with four objects.
- Alphabet or number software
programs should be used sparingly. Most are "drill and practice"
and do not develop the connection between the symbol and its meaning.
(See Software Selection for more information.)
and General Knowledge
- Provide information
to young children to help them understand the "if-then" sequences
of computer programs.
- Talk with children while
they are working and explain what is happening. "If you move the
mouse like this, the arrow on the screen will move like this." "If
you click on this word, the computer will say it out loud."
- Pay attention to social
interactions, and use social situations in software programs to
help teach social-causal reasoning. Ask questions such as, "Do you
understand why Grandma was sad in the story when she found that
all the children were gone?"