Integrating technology into the preschool classroom

by Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. on July 13, 2011

in Plan for technology, Technology

I must admit that as much as I excel in the use of technology when it comes to my own professional needs, I am terrible at incorporating technology into the classroom. But lately, I have been observing and evaluating the use of technology and its importance to the preschool children of today…

My daughter has been the biggest influence on my latest revolutions about technology and young children. My daughter comes from a generation of young adults who have grown up in a technological world and I find it interesting to watch how she naturally uses technology as a new parent…

My daughter is an amazing young parent. I watch her laugh and play with her son everyday. She is always holding and loving on Kai and playing with Kai in ways that completely impress me. She tickles him, claps with him, sings with him, makes funny faces, and uses great speech and sound patterns with him. But one thing that she also does, that is representative of today’s lifestyle, is integrate technology as a part of Kai’s play…

When my nephew Wy comes over, I tend to look for anything but technology to keep him busy. We paint, play outside, read, sweep the floor, and so on but I rarely take the time to integrate technology into his day. It was extremely hot outside today and after a long day indoors and making a big mess in my house, Wy was getting stir crazy. When my daughter came over, she sat down with Wy and downloaded a few free applications on my Ipad for Wy to play with. I hadn’t even thought of doing that….

I sat and watched as Wy and my daughter read Dr. Seuss on the IPad then they switched to a different application and explored shapes, colors, letters, and more simple concepts. Wy was having fun with this different approach to play and learning. He was also enjoying the time with my daughter…


What I am learning by observing my daughter is that technology is a natural part of today’s early childhood experiences and today’s parenting.  I am coming to the understanding that when technology is balanced with a healthy dose of outdoor play, messy art, and other kinds of interactive, hands-on experiences, technology can be a valuable part of the early childhood experience. 

I wrote the above statement in bold print because I do believe that children need both physical and interactive types of play that do not involve technology but I am also coming to the realization that I shouldn’t ignore the world that the new generation of young children are growing up in. I too must take the time to learn the technology that influences young children as they learn and develop.

I believe my daughter’s integration of technology at home as a part of her parenting style is representative of many (if not most) parents of today. This tells me that as early childhood educators, we shouldn’t stubbornly hide our heads in the sand and reject technology as part of the classroom experience. If we want the classroom to be representative of the culture in which our students live – then we have to find a way to incorporate technology into our classrooms.

My plan for technology

My plan for technology isn’t grand – I don’t have the budget to do much. What I plan to do is to bring my IPad into the classroom and try using it during circle time and perhaps even try it out as a center for one or two children to explore on their own.  I will build on my plan as I evaluate and have the funding to do more but it is a place to start and I am excited to give it a try. I still want to give my students all the opportunities that I always have but I also want to harness the magic of technology and see what I can do to enhance the classroom experience for my students.

Do you have a plan for technology? I’d love to hear about it!

This article is being shared with you by Deborah Stewart of Teach Preschool - Sharing the wonders of early learning in action!

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