Using Technology at Kiddie Academy® Educational Child Care
August 1, 2019
Playing virtual soccer on a field projected on the floor. Learning about bones by exploring X-rays on a light table. It’s not unusual to see these activities in our Academies thanks to modern educational technology.
“Technology has become ingrained in our everyday life,” said Kiddie Academy Vice President for Education Richard Peterson. “It’s almost impossible today to find and be successful in a job that doesn’t rely on using some type of technology. That’s why it’s so important that we provide children in our care with the instruction and practice they need to develop technological literacy. Technology education is one of our pillars of Life Essentials®, our guiding philosophy and basis of our curriculum.”
Of course, it remains important for children to have lots of opportunities to learn through interactions with their physical world and with other people. But constructive use of technology in the learning process is beneficial. A 2018 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research shows that education technology shows “enormous promise” in improving learning, especially when it’s used to personalize instruction to each student’s pace.
“Technology needs to be used intentionally and appropriately, according to the National Association of the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) standards,” Peterson said. “As with other curriculum areas, it’s essential that teachers use materials that are developmentally appropriate. Technology needs to be active, hands-on and engaging; therefore, static programs would not be developmentally appropriate. Technology should allow children to learn at their instructional level and their own speed.”
Technology also helps students build many of the non-cognitive skills that are essential for learning, such as tenacity and perseverance. Using a keyboard or mouse helps preschoolers develop their fine motor skills as well.
We use many types of interactive technologies in our Academies: all-in-one computers; mobile tablets; interactive whiteboards; multi-touch tables; and exciting motion-activated games such as, BEAM by EyeClick.
BEAM is a sophisticated interactive play platform which offers a varied range of motion-activated games projected onto the floor. The games challenge children to move around the virtual display and engage their whole bodies to play. The BEAM floor is a highly effective, captivating interactive playground for children, allowing multiple users to move, jump, run, dance and use their hands at the same time. The platform is very good at holding children’s attention because it encourages intuitive, natural interactivity and offers a variety of playful graphics and sounds.
Another tool that children love is the interactive multi-touch table by Hatch. The table provides a cooperative learning environment for early learners that helps them develop positive social skills through collaboration and teamwork. The system captures authentic audio of peer conversations so that teachers can review assess and report on social-emotional development. Children utilize the multi-touch table to play educational theme-based games.
Peterson adds that as technology is being used, it should become “routine and transparent.” He says the focus should be on the curriculum and not the technology being used. “The technology simply becomes part of the learning environment in the same way as books or blocks.”
More information about educational technology:
“Position Statement: Technology and Interactive Media” – National Association for the Education of Young Children
“Is technology good or bad for learning?” – Brookings Institution
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