#TECTips: Early Childhood Lesson Planning with Tech Integration: What Questions Should I Be Asking?

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Questions to ask during Play and Learning Planning with Tech Integration in Early Childhood

Image courtesy of United Way of Miami-Dade

Image courtesy of United Way of Miami-Dade

What questions do you ask when planning playing and learning experiences with technology tools for young children?

What are my learning objectives? 

  • We find at least 3 different learning objectives when we break down Margaret Powers’ learning objectives in her lesson plan, The Little Red Hen: a Kindergarten Robot Story
    • How would you break these down into a lesson plan that is developmentally appropriate for the children you work with?
      • Students will retell the story  of the Little Red Hen by programming robots with Blockly code to act out each of the character’s actions.
  • Read Sydney E. Spann’s Student Butterfly Inquiry that connects the S and T in STEM
  • In this NAEYC blog post, preschool teachers at the LSU Child Development Lab discuss letting their students deconstruct tech to see what lies beneath a computer and then building a store. This is an example of a beautiful play plan for exploring technology tools.
    • Does this approach to exploring tech fit with the culture and pedagogical beliefs of your classroom?
  • Young Children, a publication of NAEYC features a great article from Deanna Pecaski McLennan on introducing coding to young children without tech and shares her play plans.

What previous experience do the children have with technology tools?

    • What are their digital skills and what is their digital media literacy?
      • Are they in the exploring stage?
      • Are they in early integration stage
        • Ex: documentation during their play?
      • Are they able to innovate or create yet with technology?
        • Create and make something with technology or fully integrate technology tools into pretend play?
        • Have they mastered the tool yet?
  • How much facilitation do you want to have in your play and learning experience?
    • Does the facilitation need to be with an adult?
    • Does the facilitation need be with a more experienced peer?
    • Does the facilitation need to be with an older child?
  • How much of your lesson will be technology focused and how much will be play or hands-on focused?
    • What materials do you need to prep or have nearby?
    • What materials can the children create or make with tech tools or art materials?
    • What type of sensory experience are you creating?
  • Where will the learning and playing experience occur?
    • Will you design the experience or space with the children’s help or without?
    • Are you going outside or on a field trip?
  • What hardware and software do you currently have access to in your classroom?
    • What parts of the hardware and/or software do you anticipate causing your students trouble?
    • What needs to be charged or updated before you use your materials with students?
  • How much time do you think you’ll need to introduce the students to the technology (hardware and/or software)?

How much time do you think you’ll need to introduce the students to the concept you want them to learn?

  • In what contexts (whole group, small group, individually) might you need to roll out specific parts of your plan?
  • Are there any students who may need additional supports, instructions, etc.?
    • How can you meet these children where they’re at?
    • Can the technology (hardware or software) be manipulated or adapted in any way to meet these needs?
  • How can you use cooperative grouping/roles to manage the activities?
    • Do I need a helper if I am working with another group of kids?
    • Do I need visual supports or a QR code that can take kids to a tutorial?
  • What language/vocabulary might be helpful for children as they describe their processes for play/work to help them reflect or share their work? What new vocabulary and/or symbols are you introducing (this includes coding symbols if you are doing early coding)?
    • How might you integrate those terms into your instruction?
  • Will there be a parent engagement or parent education piece?
  • How much time will each piece of my play or lesson plan take to complete?
    • Is this really one play or lesson plan? Or does it need to be divided into several different plans with their own objectives?

Check out our downloadable play and lesson planning form.

Here are some of our favorite trusted resources for information on using technology with young children and don’t forget to check out Tech in The Early Years, edited by TEC Center Director, Dr. Chip Donohue!

Need help with tech-integrated play and lesson planning in your early childhood program? Learn about our TEC Mentors Professional Development program

Contact the TEC Center to learn more!

January 9, 2016
Reflections on #TechEarlyLit
In summarizing our observations from the December 10, 2015 #TechEarlyLit forum, we note: "Nudging parents/caregivers to continue to make progress toward their goals and providing positive encouragement is not new or revolutionary. What’s unique about these projects with strong ratings is how the technology was leveraged in the process." As we turn our calendars from 2015 to 2016, we invite you, the TEC Center community, to reflect on your relationships with parents and caregivers. Read, reflect, and respond. Read more →
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Erikson Institute's Technology in Early Childhood (TEC) Center team had a blast at NAEYC 2015! Read more →