I have been teaching kindergarten classes for 10 years and technology is one of the biggest and the most exciting changes that I have seen during my teaching career.
Decades ago, schools had been hesitant to integrate technology in the classroom. Educators, then, had negative notions regarding the effects of technology on education. Some of which were overuse of technology in the classroom; learning time wasted due to technical problems and game mentality of students. Educators also feared the potential dangers of technology to children considering precarious Internet content. Gradually, these concerns regarding the threats of technology on education have slowly abated through the years.
Research confirms that it is not computers, but the type of computer experiences provided to young children that determine whether technology enhances or inhibits their development (http://www.techknowlogia.org/TKL_Articles/PDF/320.pdf). Some parents have asked me why is there a need for their children to learn about computers when they are still young, uncoordinated, and cannot read. My answer was simply that computers have the potential to enhance a child’s learning as long as they are used in a developmentally appropriate way. With the advancement of technology, there are new resources and tools that can add great functionality to the classroom and to the school’s curriculum.
At Blossom, we work hand-in-hand with Cyberland International Pte. Ltd., to provide innovative, age appropriate, computer literacy programs. These programs teach basic computer skills, which we believe are important for children to learn. I am very impressed with how my Kindergarten 1 class has embraced technology. My children are now able to name the basic parts of the computer and even state what their functions are. They can even turn the computer on and shut it down with ease.
Holding the mouse correctly and clicking with their index finger is not a problem to them, however, they still need practice following the cursor and reading where it points. Since they are using the keyboard for the first time, some of my children continue to struggle to find the keys to spell their names. Nevertheless, this did not stop them from enjoying their computer classes.
Other than the aforementioned technical skills, the most important skill that my children learned was being patient. Since there are computer lab rules to follow, my students are able to sit quietly and wait for their teacher to give instructions without touching the mouse or the keyboard. It is exciting and rewarding to watch my children learn new skills and gain confidence in their ability to work with the computer. Teaching kindergarteners to use computers may seem to be a difficult task, however, with patience and passion for teaching, it is worth it!