When used wisely, technology and media can support learning and relationships. Enjoyable and engaging shared experiences that optimize the potential for children’s learning and development can support children’s relationships both with adults and their peers. –the NAEYC/Fred Rogers Center joint position statement on Technology and Interactive Media as Tools in Early Childhood Programs (2012)
When used appropriately technology can enhance and support healthy connections and relationships. In the early years, children develop, learn, and thrive through connections and relationships. The TEC Center advocates for awareness and prioritization of the whole child, especially social and emotional development, when integrating technology and digital media use into early childhood classrooms and programs.
Children learn best with and without technology tools through social experiences. According to The LEGO Group, 8 in 10 children surveyed prefer playing with parents or friends to playing alone. Technology and digital media should serve as a tool to expand the classroom walls by connecting to home, experts, and other communities.
NOTE: When you are reading their plans scroll through the whole plan as many educators have added pictures that can be quite useful.
As you read these plans note that many of them use photography and video that include images of children. The TEC Center promotes and believes that children have the right to know how and where their images and voices will be used and the right to refuse sharing their images, voices and work online.
Before you take pictures or video of children remember to:
- talk to your school leadership first about your plans
- ask parents/guardians to sign a release form provided by the school or program
- ask each child for permission and tell children how their images will be used
- protect a child’s privacy and digital footprint by putting a shape or positive emoji over a child’s face before sharing it on social media platforms to protect a child’s privacy
- Before sharing images of children with parents and caregivers make sure to review guidelines for protecting their privacy with parents, including
- ask for permission from your child if they can post an image, video or project online and respect your child’s wishes
- share with care and post images of only your child online
- be positive and a good digital citizen by posting only positive comments, photos and videos a child would be proud to show someone later in life-never shame your own child or another child online
Here are 3 tech integrated SEL: Connections + Relationships play and lesson plans developed by TEC Mentors:
- Home to School Connection with Book Creator, Developed by Linda Schlueter, Preschool educator
- Ms. Schlueter’s lesson plan focuses on interaction with parents by strengthening communication using Book Creator and email. There are many popular apps, websites and tech tools which support the home-to-school connection. We suggest you try more than one to see what works best for you and the families you serve.
- Taking Photos on the iPad Part 2 (Documentation & Publishing on Instagram), Developed by Christy Sulaiman, Pre-K educator
- Ms. Sulaiman continues her introduction to the camera app to her class with the inclusion of discussing documentation and publishing on Instagram. She introduces a new job to her class, the classroom photographer. 3 or 4 students will be the classroom photographers each day. The job’s title (photographer, documentarian, journalist, reporter, etc.) will define what the responsibilities and goals are of that job and may shape students’ expectations about what professional photographers, documentarians, etc. do. Be sure to review this with your classroom.
- Virtual Field Trip: Shedd Aquarium, Developed by Colleen Wiora, First Grade educator
- While learning about penguins, Ms. Wiora brought penguin trainers and experts into the classroom virtually. Technology is a tool for learning and this should be discussed with young children. Video conferencing is a fun way to investigate research projects, interview authors, visit zoos and museums, and even connect with other classrooms across the globe!
One must consider whether the goals can be more easily achieved using traditional classroom materials or whether the use of particular technology and interactive media tools actually extends learning and development in ways not possible otherwise. –the NAEYC/Fred Rogers Center joint position statement on Technology and Interactive Media as Tools in Early Childhood Programs
Additional related resources:
- Family Engagement in the Digital Age: Early Childhood Education as Media Mentors, edited by Chip Donohue, PhD
- Ideas for Using Video Conferencing in the Classroom by Kristen Hicks
- 6 Tech Tools That Boost Teacher-Parent Communication tips by Jeff Knutson, Common Sense Education
- Skype can take your classroom wherever you want to go! ISTE blog post by Shannon Miller, Skype Education Ambassador