29 Aug 5 Ways Children Can Create, Not Just Consume, Technology
Technology is a great learning tool. This Queensland childcare and kindy not-for-profit shows how you can use it with your kids.
“Technology is a great opportunity to share and learn together with our children, and like any other tool, we need to get the most out of it,” says Robyn Mercer, Chair of C&K Educational Technologies Team. C&K is holding an Open Week, 4-9 September, at its 350+ kindergartens and childcare centres across Queensland.
Here are 5 ways C&K kindys and childcares use technology as a learning, playing and communication tool that you can do at home:
Connect with others
“An oldie but a goodie,” says Robyn. “One of the best things about technology is its ability to close distances. Creating and sharing videos, video chatting with families or even classes of other children helps kids (and adults) find out about our world. For example, C&K Bayview Heights Skypes C&K Edmonton in North Queensland to ‘talk with’ centre pet, Sparkles the chook, and C&K kindys at Highfields and Glenmorgan are digital pen pals.”
Researching and exploring
Use a tablet, mobile phone or computer to find out about things like local animals. “The great thing about a tablet is you can take it right into the garden to do your research – no more being stuck in front of a computer inside!” says Robyn.
“If your child is swinging or hanging upside down on the bars at the park, how about saying: ‘You look like a monkey – I wonder what other animals can swing? When we get home, shall we investigate on my phone and see?’ Or we can say, ‘Hmm, let’s take a photo of this caterpillar – what kind of caterpillar is it? Is it safe to touch?’”
Look for apps that … support deeper learning
Look for apps that are open-ended to support deeper learning, not those that require mindless repetition for entertainment, advises Robyn. “Apps where children are prompted to solve problems, build or create are great – drawing apps, collage apps, mini movie-maker apps where you can create short videos with your child, or those where your child can practise writing their name, are all good.”
“Robotics for young children can be a great way to learn – and play! The children and staff at C&K Elanora on the Gold Coast, created table-top maps and then programmed Beebots to navigate the maps. They had to problem-solve, code, count the squares, think about directionality and so much more,” says Robyn.
Tinkering with tech
Kids can experiment with dismantling technology and tools, says Robyn. “The staff and children at C&K Oaks Beach took apart an old keyboard and computer to see what was inside. (Computers and electronic equipment were checked to ensure that batteries and power packs are removed first.) We learned new words like ‘motherboard’ and ‘circuit’. We saw springs and parts that were really curious to us. Conversations about old-fashioned machines arose, like ‘What’s a video?’, ‘What’s a stereo?’. Our educators model the responsible, creative and curious use of technology,” says Robyn “and that’s something every parent can do at home!”
This story is brought to you by C&K (Creche and Kindergarten Association Ltd), a not-for-profit organisation that first opened its doors in Brisbane in 1907. It has centres all over Queensland. Find your nearest centre on the website or call 1800 177 092.