Ally Logan, Preschool Teacher, Hitchcock Elementary-Millard Public Schools in Omaha, Nebraska was one of many educators who submitted a story connecting the NAEYC/Fred Rogers Center’s joint position statement on Technology and Interactive Media as Tools in Early Childhood Program and TEC Center’s work over the past five years to their practice. She shares how technology is fully integrated to support a blended classroom.
Technology is incredibly important in my blended preschool setting. Each week, we use desktop computers for our math curriculum and letter and letter-sound awareness games through Starfall. We also have an iPad station in which students engage in an app with a partner and work on turn-taking. Some of our favorite apps include Letter School,Puppet Pals and Monkey Math. Finally, I encourage my preschoolers to take photos and videos as they are learning.
If we go on a walk to examine the sights and smells of a new season, we will take iPads and cameras to capture photos of what we observe. If students work together to build a tall tower during center time, they may decide to snap a photo of their tower to share with their friends during whole group. My students LOVE using technology to enhance their learning and investigate new ideas.
During our farm exploration unit, my students wanted to learn what time farmers typically wake up to take care of their animals. We used our classroom computers and Google to investigate the answer to this question. We found that, on average, cattle farmers wake up around 4:00 am to 5:00 am. When we discovered that, one of my students, Hailey’s jaw dropped and she exclaimed, “That’s way too early!”
How has the NAEYC/Fred Rogers Center’s Joint Position Statement on Technology and Interactive Media as Tools in Early Childhood Programs influenced your work?
In my classroom, we focus on using technology and interactive media in age-appropriate ways. I agree that teachers should be intentional when using these tools and that these should be considered part of a child’s developmental framework.
Often times I hear teachers say that there isn’t enough time to learn new technologies to use in the classroom, but I refer to the old saying that, “Excuses will always be there…opportunity won’t.”
Technology and interactive media are great outlets for students to expand what they have already learned and to increase their learning. Instead of viewing technology and interactive media as a burden, I agree with the position statement that these experiences are “increasingly part of the context of their lives”.We, as teachers, can teach appropriate use of technology and interactive media since we know children are going to be using these tools at home and within the workforce in the future.
How has the TEC Center at Erikson Institute influenced your work?
For me, there is a comfort in the TEC team’s belief that technology is here to stay. Each day, I am finding new outlets for my students through technology and interactive media, and I think that we are living in such an exciting time because of these advancements! As an early childhood educator, I know that there is a lot of concern regarding screen time and technology with young children, but I firmly agree with Chip Donohue’s belief that appropriate use and not assuming all screens are the same is crucial. I believe it is my job as an early childhood educator to teach appropriate use to my students beginning at a very young age. Individuals like Mr. Donohue who have dedicated their work to the ever-advancing world of technology have greatly improved my classroom and my teaching by allowing me to correctly utilize these amazing tools at our fingertips each and every day. When I see a student’s face light up when he/she is able to capture a photo of something he/she built out of blocks, create a piece of artwork that moves and has sound elements using an app, or understand quantifying by using a program on a computer, those are the moments that I am exponentially grateful for technology and the individuals who dedicate their lives to frameworks for technology in early child education.
About Ally Logan
I am a wife, a preschool teacher and a huge believer in hands-on learning! I am originally from a small town in Missouri, but I have loved living and teaching in Omaha for the past four years. In my spare time, I enjoy dabbling in photography, reading and playing guitar.
To learn more about the NAEYC/Fred Rogers Center’s joint position statement on Technology and Interactive Media as Tools in Early Childhood Programs and for more educators’ stories check out our 5th-anniversary celebration!