Teaching With Technology: Bringing Tech Into the Classroom Dramatically!
Computers, Internet services, and software can enhance the environment you prepare for the young learners in your program
- Grades: PreK–K
The world of a young child is one where a marker can become a rocket, an old, discarded computer keyboard becomes a cash register, or a paintbrush turns into a mustache. It's a magical, fun kind of place where most grownups don't go. Some adults call it dramatic play, others say it's representational thinking-most simply call it pretending. Whatever term you prefer, we can all pretty much agree that:
(a) children do it a lot
(b) it is obviously a very important component of how young children learn
More specifically, pretending serves as a great dress rehearsal for a child's emerging language. Here are some ways that technology can help promote play-and language learning.
Stock Your Classroom With "High-Tech" Props
Children see their parents use gadgets every day. Collect old cell phones, remote controls, faxes, cameras, and computer keyboards. All these create wonderful representational play activities. Make sure that each item is clearly labeled, so a child can begin to associate the printed word with the object. (Safety Tip: Make sure you remove choking hazards, such as electrical plugs or batteries!)
The next time children put on a show, have your camcorder charged and loaded with a fresh tape. Let the show develop by following the children's play ideas. Later, use a video editor, such as iMovie (Apple Computer), to mix in titles, screen transitions, or add some ragtime piano in the background. You'll be amazed by how professional the results are.
Hold a Pretending Celebration!
Use your digital camera to capture all the ways that children pretend over the course of a day or a week. Get close-up shots of children dressing up, trying on different hats, or acting out a special event. Make sure to label the pictures and display them on a bulletin board or in a classroom scrapbook.
Spice Up Anecdotal Records-With Sound Samples!
Digital cameras are getting smaller, cheaper, and can record more than pictures. For example, the Minolta DiMage Xt is the size of a deck of cards and can save hundreds of pictures and sound clips. Pictures and sounds can be played directly on a VCR or television. (Remember to turn on the date stamp on your digital camera-a feature built in to almost all cameras, but sometimes hard to find. It is incredibly useful for keeping accurate records of a child's activity.)