In today’s society, technology is everywhere. Children are introduced to various types of technologies at an early age. Many parents utilize tv’s to occupy their children while they work or take care of other important things. Parents can utilize this time to play educational videos, teaching children about shapes, colors, numbers, and letters. So, can computers can be used effectively in the classroom and at home to enhance early childhood literacy? What are the pros and cons of utilizing computer-based programs in the classroom and its future role? Benefits of Computers, Technology, and Specifically Developed Programs
There are many benefits to utilizing online material for young children. One such example is that it has been shown to boost phonological skills. A study of 126 primary school students screened on the Phonological Assessment revealed that when introduced to children ranging in ages four to six years old, an early intervention computer-based literacy program was effective in boosting those phonological skills, mainly when the literacy struggles were not connected to phonological working shortfalls (O’Callaghan, Mclvor, McVeigh, and Rushe, 2016).
Utilizing technology specifically developed for young children to enhance English education creatively is an additional benefit for teachers. For example, specifically designed and developed English education systems that can generate interest by applying augmented reality and providing virtual multimedia education with implemented functions such as learning process, progress check, result feedback between instructor and learner in real time can allow the teacher to monitor a student’s progress and provide any additional help that they can see the student may need (Kim & Kim, 2018).
Another example is using an iPad to increase literacy skills. An article by Angi Stone-MacDonald, discussed how educators can positively utilize iPads for literacy development, specifically in children with disabilities ranging from Pre-k to through third grade (2015). Specific apps and strategies are used and has shown to encourage learning and higher learning outcomes of those children.
Utilizing computers will also help a child attain basic computer skills as well as providing an innovative means of self-expression; advancement of learning, mainly in literacy and numeracy; and enrichment of school programs. Additionally, children who learn basic computer skills through activities such as coding, not only learn literacy skills but aquire computational skills, dvelop problem solving skills, helps them learn perseverance as they learn to handle problems and anticipate errors, as well as facilitates creativity (Rudling, 2019). Cons of Computers, Technology, and Specifically Developed Programs However, the reverse or negative effect of utilizing computers for literacy programs or other means of technology is that children technology dependent or addicted to such technology. Too much screen time can also lead to vision problems and hyper activeness and cost of providing literacy programs for schools.
There are various types of literacy programs available that are free to parents and educators to use and incorporating it into a child’s education that are beneficial not only to educators and parents but to the child unfortunately, though they are free programs, they are not created equally and may not fit to the educational goals of the classroom or to the individual child. A different program may be better suited but with that comes an added expense for the school and will school be able to fund such an added expense.
While computers can be excellent tools in the classroom, students who utilize computers for most school activities lose the ability to spell more accurately and hand writing skills decrease. Finding a balance in the classroom is when utilizing technology in the classroom is essential. With younger children, it is important that parents and educators decide how and when students interact with technology and the length of time used (Phippen, 2017).
Every child is unique in their own way. This is true within the classroom and classwork as each student learns differently and can be at varying levels. While some students may be computer savvy, others may have little to no experience. This can be difficult for educators as they want to provide the right level of work for each child as well as working too far ahead or too slowly. Therefore, is it important for schools to provide the technology that best suits the students that they have.
While utilizing computer games as a learning tool. Children who spend a tremendous time on those games may begin to lose important interpersonal skills as compared to if they played a card game or other literacy game with another student. Additionally, the finding of the 2017 study by conducted by Alkhawaldeh, Hyassat, Al-Zboon, and Ahmad, indicated that several teachers felt that computer use was more detrimental to young children and could lead to poor socialization and isolation. In contradiction to the 2017 study, a study conducted by Eun Me Lim, noted that when children utilized technology in the classroom setting, showed the children tended to interact more with one another as they worked together, asked each other questions, or exchanged information among one another (2015). Role of Utilizing On-line Material
Digital technology is everywhere. I believe that the use of technology is becoming more prevalent and is having an impact on how children are learning. These technologies should be employed as another tool for teachers to utilize in school. Many schools provide websites for parents to help their children gain extra practice when at home. Many of these websites, including the internet can improve a child’s education as it provides a pleather of information for example about a topic being researched and increases opportunities for learning beyond the classroom. Additionally, many schools are moving to utilizing chrome books in the classroom and to effectively assign and communicate with students. While this is most prevalent in middle and high schools, many elementary schools are introducing chrome books to their fourth, fifth, and six graders in preparation for middle and high school.
Including parents in participating with helping children use online material is by utilizing those technological tools to help them. Many parents may feel that they are unable to effectively participate or fully know what is going on in with their child at school (Willis & Exley, 2018). Utilizing today’s technology can help with this. While this is not directly related to the child it will help parents understand how to help their child and what instructional sites they can utilize for their child when at home. It also allows for parent to be up to date and effectively communicate with teachers.
The question of whether utilizing computer-based technology for literacy or really any other subject is really a personal choice. Though there are studies for both sides, the reality is each child is different, each educator is different, and each school is different. Whether utilizing online material or not, it is important to keep open communication with the families on what it is the child is working on and how to help that child become successful. Piaget suggested that children learn by constructing their own knowledge and creating their own theories, by creating, exploring to gain a better understanding of how things work (Schaeffer, 2016). I believe utilizing computer-based technology, not as a primary learning tool, but as an additional tool available to them will only help a child to explore. Younger children who struggle to learn, may find computer literacy programs like ABCMouse.com or ABCYa.com a fun interactive way to help them learn.
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