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What are the benefits of using technology in early childhood education?

by Chloe Baird

As technology continues to evolve, the next generation of Australians will be the ones driving innovation and change.  So it’s imperative that they learn how to understand, utilise and adapt to the new advances we’re seeing every day.  

Introducing children to technology at a young age in an educational format can have huge benefits. As we see the importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) learning and the opportunities it can open up, incorporating technology in early childhood education seems like an obvious choice.

So, what are the benefits of using technology in early childhood education?

Technology use can be beneficial for a child’s early development

Early childhood education refers to the teaching of children from birth up to around age 8. This is a time when children are at their most impressionable, so it’s important that they get the right kind of support.

When it comes to using technology as part of early childhood education, it’s important that children are properly supported by adults while learning. When the use of technology is combined with social interaction and guidance from parents or Childhood Educators, it can have great benefits for children.

At a 2016 childhood learning conference in Darwin, exposure to digital technology was cited by experts as being essential to childhood development. Technology, when used appropriately, was considered by many to be a critical part of a child’s early learning journey.

Is too much ‘screen time’ a bad thing for a child’s early development?

Whether or not you agree that children should have a cap on the amount of ‘screen time’ they have each day, the fact is that we live in a digital age. Computers and smart devices are not just a big part of many different types of jobs, but they’re also a part of our everyday lives.

With this in mind, introducing children to technology at a young age can be helpful to their development.

What seems to concern most people is that children may not necessarily be interacting with content that is seen as ‘beneficial’ to their development.

For example, are they using a device to interact with others? Are they using an app that features educational content? Is the app they’re using encouraging them to learn something new?

Some people may see screen time as equalling anti-social behaviour and a disinterest in physical exercise. But these problems seem to only arise if parents and educators don’t encourage the use of technology in an interactive, educational way.  

Technology has opened up countless new learning opportunities for young children.

Balancing technology as part of a healthy lifestyle

One of the most important things people can learn about technology use is how to make the most of it, and not come to rely on it too heavily.

We’re in an age where new, incredible advancements in technology happen on a daily basis. Technology is an integral, interwoven part of our lives. But it needs to be balanced as part of a healthy lifestyle. It’s still important to eat healthy, to exercise, and to socialise while still making use of technology in your day to day.

The same goes for children and early childhood development. While technology definitely has its benefits, it’s also important for children to get outside, play, and interact physically with their friends. A balanced and healthy approach to learning will involve a mix of technology and more traditional methods.

3 Benefits of incorporating technology in a child’s early development

1. It can support STEM learning

STEM learning focuses on teaching the next generation the skills and knowledge they need for the future. In an ever-changing world where the jobs of today may not exist in thirty, twenty, or ten years’ time, it’s more important than ever that we equip children today with the necessary skills needed for the future. Technology in early childhood education can assist in STEM learning, and prepare children for the challenges of the future.

2. It can open up new learning opportunities

Were you ever told by your parents to go and look a word up in the dictionary if you didn’t know what it meant? With the help of e-readers and other smart devices, children can simply click on a word to learn what it means, giving them easier access to a larger vocabulary. In some scenarios, they can click to hear how the word is correctly pronounced.

It can also give them the chance to experience things they might not otherwise have access to, such as a virtual tour of the British Museum or the chance to see into the lives of zoo animals with a live stream.

3. It can help children ‘learn how to learn’

Many schools in Australia already incorporate the use of technology in their curriculums. Introducing pre-school-age children to technology can help them develop the skills needed to succeed when they move to primary school.  

Do you want to help teach the next generation of Australians?

Qualified, dedicated Early Childhood Educators are in demand right now, and there has been strong job growth in this sector over the past few years.

Now’s the time to begin studying for a career in childhood education.

Open Colleges offers three different courses that can help you land a job in the childcare industry:

Unlock your potential today with Open Colleges so you can help the next generation reach theirs.

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