Preschool children today are “digital natives”, that is, they have grown up with the technology present in their lives since they were little, which is why technology teaching in childhood today is so necessary. Give a young child a smartphone and in no time he or she will be playing alone or watching their favorite video. It is also not uncommon for children to teach adults how to use the latest technology devices.
But when it comes to teaching technology, a common concern of parents is: “My child already gets a lot of exposure to technology at home. Why would I want it in a learning environment?” While that is the case when technology is used in specific and focused ways, it can support and help achieve goals in early childhood education and preschool learning.
Implementing technology in conjunction with traditional activities such as outdoor play and tactile learning (such as wooden blocks and sensory boxes), offers more opportunities for students of all ages to develop varied skills to get involved, communicate and explore. Check out below some of the benefits that teaching technology in childhood can bring to children.
Teaching technology enables creativity and freedom of expression
Children have a great imagination, too big to contain. Where in the past they only had art materials like crayons and paints to express their ideas, now they have computers, tablets and more to help them turn these thoughts into reality.
Of course, the little ones still have pen and paper, but now instead of, or beyond just – drawing an image, they can create a 3D animation and even send it to a 3D printer to allow it to take on a physical form. Who knows, their creation could be the prototype of a very successful business.
The skills that technology teaching offers bring children a creative way to express themselves. Coding is a skill, but programming a video game or mobile application is an expression.
Helps socialize and build relationships
It’s not a scary tactic, but your child’s chances of finding other children to interact and relate to technology outweigh the chances of finding other children who don’t use or don’t like the technology.
Video games, social media, mobile apps, these are all hobbies and interests, like sports, reading and more. The opportunity to socialize with technology is twofold.
On one hand, children can share these interests with other children as consumers, just as they would with soccer player cards. They can also connect with the technologies through live chat during video game sessions or on Facebook, and anywhere else.
Also, if they want to take these interests to the next level and create their own video games or learn to encode in a camp or classroom, this is another opportunity to create strong relationships, as they will be collaborating and learning as different, indifferent children.
Technology improves problem solving and perseverance
Have you ever heard the term “survival mode”? It is a gambling experience found in many different types of video games, in which the player is in charge of staying alive as long as possible to overcome his opponents.
In the popular Minecraft game, “survival mode” is a way for players to improve their problem solving skills. Specifically, they are placed in new and different environments, and must immediately build shelter and collect items such as weapons and food to survive. Also, a “Minecraft day” lasts 10 minutes in the real world, forcing players to move quickly while making good decisions to stay alive.
While child development with the benefits provided by Minecraft may seem a strange example, this is the point. If you can figure out how a single video game can improve problem solving and perseverance, think about all the other opportunities that will come from that.
With technology teaching comes freedom of speech and, with that freedom, the chance for children to establish themselves and achieve something independently. In doing so, they face obstacles and challenges that need to be resolved in order to achieve their goals, so that they learn how to deal with these obstacles.
This obstacle can be building a shelter in Minecraft or debugging a line of code, all of which helps establish a strong sense of perseverance. In turn, they will be encouraged to come up with their own solutions when problems are faced in technology, or outside technology in the form of a homework problem, disagreement with a friend, or other personal difficulties.
Technology enhances learning
While skills such as those mentioned above (creativity and independence) can easily make your child a better student, this is an example of a more direct application of how technology teaching can improve the learning experience.
It is also a very easy point to understand. What items do you usually associate with learning terms? Years ago, it was mostly books, schools and libraries. So the computer introduced a new way of learning. While this use of technology has really opened up the opportunities for learning, consider now what virtual and augmented realities could accomplish.
Instead of reading about how the pyramids that were built, children were able to enter a virtual reality and experience what it’s like to be present when structures are erected. They can stand underneath and watch the huge stones being dragged into place, leaving them with vivid memories instead of just reading words on the pages.
The opportunities with technology teaching are endless! Anything that has been written and illustrated in books for our eyes to read can now or soon be built into an alternative reality, so that we can see, touch, interact and experience on a much deeper level.
These are just some of the benefits that technology teaching can bring, we don’t even mention the more traditional technology benefits you’ve normally read about, how games can improve coordination, critical thinking and reaction time.
In other words, there is much more to consider when it comes to how technology can benefit your children. And can you think of more ways that technology education can benefit young people?