Talking about Technology: Book Study Expert Commentary for Chapters 21, 22, 23 (Week 12)

Published on: November 16, 2015

Filled Under: Beyond The Pages, Books, Guest Speakers

Views: 6016

What If Book Study Marketing PicThis week we are discussing Chapter 21: Should We Teach Handwriting in the Digital Age?, Chapter 22: Just Say No to Keyboarding in Kindergarten, and Chapter 23: iPads or Playdoh. Tamara Kaldor and Blakely Bundy will provide insight and lead our discussion this week. Just joining us? Get all the book study details HERE.

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Chapter 21: Should We Teach Handwriting in the Digital Age? Chapter 22: Just Say No to Keyboarding in Kindergarten
Commentary from Tamara Kaldor

Chapters 21 and 22 of What if Everybody Understood Child Development? by Rae Pica raises issues around handwriting and keyboarding that I look at everyday as a child development expert who utilizes technology in my work with families and educators to help children with developmental differences communicate and relate so they can be included and be active participants in their school, home, and community. I certainly understand the author’s concerns about fine motor skills and the issues that surround keyboarding for young children. However, 21st century teachers need to closely examine their toolboxes and see what tools each child they work with needs to be able to communicate and relate their ideas, feelings, and creativity. In the age of personalized learning, educators need to look at all of their options to help children become successful learners, players, and contributors.

In our role as media mentors to young children, we want to model and teach children how to find the tools that will best help that individual child communicate their thoughts and ideas to their peers. Young children need opportunities to experiment and play with communication tools, including keyboards, voice recorders, styluses, paintbrushes, markers, and pen/pencil to learn how to best get out their ideas quickly and effectively. Too frequently, I see children with diagnosed and undiagnosed learning disabilities or communication disorders stop writing stories or contributing ideas to the group discussion because the traditional tools, including using their own voice, are not usable to them or takes so much energy to master that they give up. They are spending too much time having to focus on mastering the tool (such as handwriting with pencil/pen or keyboarding) that they lose their ideas, give up on the writing process, and feel frustrated, disappointed, and angry.

When a child is provided a wide variety and opportunities to discover what tools help them tell their story or share their idea, you can immediately see the child’s confidence grow and their love for creating and learning strengthens as they focus on the ideas, not the output process. What if we stopped questioning the validity of all of these communication tools and instead started focusing on helping children identify and understand why they find certain tools more effective than others? We could set up children up from a young age to be curators of their learning and study tools for a lifetime of success.

I argue that helping children curate their own learning tools is what will help them prepare them to be successful as life long learners and help them keep their passion for learning, creating, communicating, collaborating, and critical thinking. Instead of spending time putting limits down on what communication tools to teach children to use, invest more time in helping children to learn how to use and evaluate all of the tools available to them, including handwriting and keyboarding.

Thought questions:

  • How can you teach young children to evaluate communication tools such as handwriting, keyboarding, voice recording, etc.?
  • How can you teach young children to use these tools appropriately and intentionally?
  • How can you create learning and playing environments that value the 4cs of 21st century skills-communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking?
  • How do you create inclusive lesson plans so ALL of the children in your classroom are active participants?

Tamara Kaldor HeadshotTamara Kaldor, M.S. is the consulting Program Coordinator at the TEC Center at Erikson Institute and developmental therapist and owner of PLAY is work.  Tamara is a child development specialist with over a decade of experience teaching parents, educators, and administrators how to integrate technology to support the social-emotional and learning needs of ALL children. She has seen how technology helps kids of all abilities share their voice and what they know in order to advance in their development. Her goal is to help educators and therapists thoughtfully integrate technology into their classrooms and children’s programs so that all children are active participants and learners. She does this by finding creative ways to include technology meaningfully to help children play, relate and learn. This has made Tamara a sought-after speaker in the area of tech integration. She has been invited to deliver workshops on digital citizenship, integrating technology into the classroom and lesson plans, and navigating the digital world responsibly throughout Chicago, the U.S. and internationally. Tamara has collaborated with such organizations as UNICEF, UNESCO, International Society for Technology and Education (ISTE), NAEYC, the Interdisciplinary Council on Development and Learning (ICDL), and Common Sense Media.

Web:   http://www.teccenter.erikson.edu
Twitter: https://twitter.com/chiplaypro and https://twitter.com/tec_center
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/teccenter.erikson/

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Chapter 23: iPads or Playdoh
Commentary by Blakely Bundy

Should technology be part of early childhood classrooms?  Should iPads replace playdough for preschoolers? The debate goes on, with people feeling strongly on both sides.  However, I was delighted to see Rae Pica coming down firmly on the less technology side and that’s where I am, too.  Her questions at the end of the chapter say it all:  “Is there danger to children from too little use of technology? Is there danger to children from too much technology use?”  Few people would consider too little technology a “danger,” but too much technology raises all kinds of red flags, such as the ones that Rae lists, including ocular lock, lack of physical activity contributing to obesity, the impact on fine motor development, and so on.

The argument on the pro-technology side is that since technology will most definitely be part of every child’s life eventually, they need to get an early start on it.  It’s Piaget’s “American question” all over again – pushing children to do things earlier and faster.  However, if I ever had any doubts about that position, they were put to rest by my twin granddaughters’ experiences.  Probably because I’m their grandmother who feels pretty strongly about screen usage for young children, the girls had very little contact with computers or iPads at home as preschoolers and in the early elementary years. They fortunately attend the Winnetka (IL) schools which have a progressive, child-centered philosophy and there were no computers or other screens in their classrooms either.  However, in third grade, some keyboarding was introduced in their school’s resource center and the girls quickly realized that their keyboarding skills were far behind those of their classmates who had spent hours as young children on computers and iPads at home.  For a couple of weeks, they struggled with the keyboarding assignments but–guess what?–they soon caught up with their more experienced classmates. Then, in fifth grade, their middle school gave every student an iPad to be used for both classwork and homework.  Once again, the girls were less skilled at using that device than the classmates who had been using one for years but, once more, they soon learned the needed skills, caught up with their peers, and are now as proficient as anyone in their class.  The best part is that they didn’t have to sacrifice the hours and hours of screen-free, child-directed play that they had enjoyed as young children, instead of spending those hours on screen-based devices.

The moral of the story?  I think that it refutes the argument about the importance of young children getting a head start on computer skills. That is just not a good reason to introduce those screens at a young age or to keep computers in the classroom because kids will pick up the computer skills that they need in no time, when they are older and those skills are needed for school work.  More importantly, additional screen time in early childhood classrooms is bound to take the place of hands on, child-directed play and real-world, three- dimensional experiences that lead to and support authentic learning.  Add to that the fact that young children are apt to experience less time for child-directed play out of school these days.  Instead, their out-of-school time is more likely filled with the distractions from screen-based entertainment and over-scheduling with adult-supervised “enrichment” classes.  They also may spend much less time playing out of doors, not only because there are fewer neighborhood children available for spontaneous play, but also because of parents’ fears for their children’s safety.  Finally, busy parents are often less focused on and less engaged with their children, often themselves distracted by their own screen-based devices.  And, of course, those darned screens can be found everywhere – from  the grocery store and the gas pump, to blaring in elevators, in cars and taxis, and even in the doctor’s waiting room!

To paraphrase McDonalds’, “Kids deserve a break today!”

I agree with Rae – wouldn’t it be wonderful if young children could at least have a break from all screens in their early childhood classrooms, a break from those ubiquitous screens that surround them in the rest of their lives. In fact, those early childhood classrooms may be the only place where young children can have an opportunity not only to play, but also to capture an adult’s – their teacher’s – undivided attention.  If those hours in school are taken up by screen-time, the children will have been robbed twice.

So just remember Rae’s questions when discussing this topic with others, especially those who are arguing for more technology – “Is there danger to children from too little use of technology? Is there danger to children from too much technology use?”  I think that these questions say it all.

Blakely Bundy 2014 croppedBlakely Bundy M.Ed., served as Executive Director for The Alliance for Early Childhood (www.TheAllianceForEC.org) for 25 years and she is currently its Executive Director Emeritus and Senior Advisor.  As a committed advocate for young children, she is currently on the National Advisory Board of Defending the Early Years http://www.deyproject.org, on the National Steering Committee of TRUCE (Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Children’s Entertainment) (www.truceteachers.org) , and on the Board of Directors of the Chicago Children’s Museum (www.chicagochildrensmuseum.org).

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Please share/retweet this post! Let us know that you’re participating in this study. We’d love to hear from you about your thoughts regarding Chapters 21, 22, and 23 and the commentary that Tamara and Blakely have provided. Your voice matters – participate in the dialogue and share your ideas here! (Comment below) If you’ve chosen to blog about what you’ve read on your own site, link back and share your post with us here. Perhaps you have a burning question about something that you read in one of these chapters… we have a feature for that – Ask The Author! That’s right, Rae Pica will be available throughout this live study to answer your questions. #AskAuthor

What to read next: Chapter 25: In Defense of the Arts (11/23/15).

*If you’re a MN participant seeking training hours, please visit this link to access to requirements.

47 Responses to Talking about Technology: Book Study Expert Commentary for Chapters 21, 22, 23 (Week 12)

  1. Rae Pica says:

    Blakely, thank you for sharing your granddaughters’ experiences with us!

    I understand Tamara’s point about offering children a wide variety of tools. Last week I was visiting PreK, kindergarten, and 1st-grade classrooms in WV and I did indeed see some cool uses for the Smart Board. But I also had a chance to observe a class of kindergartners in the computer lab. I can’t even describe how pointless their time in that lab was. As they moved their mouses around, pointing and clicking at things that would have had far more meaning if experienced tangibly, I kept thinking that all the technology they were practicing with will soon be obsolete — making their time in that lab an even greater waste.

    Sure, in the hands of the right teachers, technology can be used to enhance learning in early childhood classrooms — but, sadly, I’ve yet to witness much of that.

  2. Sarah Fritsch says:

    I also agree with Tamara that technology can be a great tool for those who do not have the ability to communicate in other ways. It has also brought the world so much closer to us. If my class is wondering what a Chinchilla looks like, I can google images and video to show them. Its not as good as the real thing but sometimes thats as close as we can get.
    I also very much agree with you Rae that we have to be very intentional about what we do and why we do it. If we have a SMART board in our room because that somehow makes your institution more appealing to parents that is not the right reason. If it is to help share information in a new way then yes, but that should be explained to parents and used for those intentional purposes. Technology should enhance and not take away from experiences.
    Chapter 22 was such a great reminder that just because technology is developing fast does not mean we are and that there is stages to development and if not followed there can be life long consequences to that. I will be reminding my parents that we have to develop those core muscles first, which includes lots and lots of large motor movement!!
    I

  3. Rae Pica says:

    Thanks for your thoughtful response, Sarah. In June Education Week published an article called “Why Ed Tech Is Not Transforming How Teachers Teach.” (You can find it here: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2015/06/11/why-ed-tech-is-not-transforming-how.html)

    The premise can be summed up in a quote from one of the people interviewed. He said, “The introduction of computers was supposed to improve academic achievement and alter how teachers taught. Neither has occurred.”

    Tomorrow I’m interviewing a couple of people for BAM Radio about just this topic. Stay tuned!

  4. Scott says:

    Here’s what I wrote about these issues on my blog earlier:

    “I think too often we see technology as THE answer. Technology (just like play dough or blocks or paint and brushes) is a tool that can aid a child’s learning and pique his curiosity. I think technology should be just one part of what happens in a child’s life. As with anything that comes into the classroom, it should be used intentionally and judiciously.

    I would advocate a balanced and reasoned approach. Technology exists in the world of kids and should be a part of the classroom. But when it’s used, it should be purposeful and intentional. It should fit with the play dough and crayons and dolls and dishes. It should follow the child’s lead and interest. It should be part of the authentic learning that’s happening in the classroom.”

    It always come back to intention, I think. Using technology of any sort (computer or pencil) should a child explore, experiment, and grow.

  5. Mike Huber says:

    I think “technology” is a neutral term, but we often apply it only to the things we are either wary of or the things we think will solve everything. Electric lights are technology, so is central heating. We often don’t think of these things because they still allow children to explore the world around them.

    Computers and tablets can help some children explore in ways they couldn’t before. A blind child could communicate with a deaf child with the use of tablets, translating pictures into sound or voice into pictures (or text as they get older). Without this technology, these children may not have been able to communicate as easily and could not be in a mainstream classroom. The same could be said for a wheelchair for others (electric or not, wheelchairs are technology).

    I think it usually boils down to the question of whether the technology helps the child explore the world more or does it distract them from exploring. My class watched a video on how a washing machine works and then watched a machine go through a cycle with the top up. They knew from the video what was happening in the parts they couldn’t see. I don’t think we could have safely run the machine with the cover off (although we took it off when it was unplugged). The video was a doorway into our exploration. If we only watched the video, I don’t think we would have retained much information, but used along-side physical exploration, it deepened our understanding.

  6. Jane says:

    The class is gave me an opportunity to learn about my iPad as for the first time I used a Kindle book for the class as well as writing on the iPad. I tried to use my iPad when my grandchildren are not around however even though their parents do not have one they have seemed to know how to find things almost faster than I can. I too realize the benefit of time spent in hand hands-on activities as well as learning things I could’ve never learned on line. However, we need to make sure to provide activities that preschool children may not be able to have at home, in an apartment or small living space. I had a preschool room that was set up for regular preschool and then another room that had my own large muscle room the exact same size as my regular classroom as well as access to the gym, the playground and enjoyed the opportunity that I realize not everyone has. I hope to help parent realize the importance of providing opportunities for appropriate development.

  7. Jen Nagorski says:

    Great comments! I agree with Sarah that the use of technology in a classroom has to be intentional. And I think Scott is right on with the point that technology can fit in with crayons and playdoh and we should follow a child’s lead and interest. However, I really do resonate with Rae’s argument that balance is best, but we should error on the side of too little technology.

    As I was reading these chapters, I found myself thinking that the argument that children who aren’t exposed to technology (or keyboarding) as early as peers would fall behind or be unprepared for our world was silly. It was nice to read Blakely’s testimony of what her granddaughters experienced. I don’t find this surprising as children will have the problem solving skills needed to be successful with technology if we allow them other educationally rich experiences off screen. As Rhian says in Chapter 23, technology should enhance human interaction, not replace it. In this way, technology should enhance learning, exploration, and imagination, not replace a child’s fundamental need for play.

  8. Dianne says:

    Very interesting comments. I completely agree that the use of technology can be beneficial if used intentionally. Some learning that can’t be hands on can be handled through the use of technology. However, I tend to lean towards the side of less technology in classrooms especially with preschoolers and early elementary. There is a far greater benefit to children to be active learners. I find through my experience as a daycare provider that as the years go by and more and more very young children are exposed to tablets, it is having a negative impact on their creativity. They have a hard time with any type of imaginative play and are not capable of playing without another child to lead the play. I don’t have any tablets or computers for use in my daycare and some children have a very difficult time doing any active play because they don’t know what to do or how to even begin. I had recently put a few telephones in the play area and one three year old picked one up and looked at it. I asked if he knew what it was and he did. He said it was a phone but then preceded to tell me, “you play games on it”. I asked if that was all you do with it and he gave me a strange look and said, “of course that’s all you do with it”. I am a little disturbed to see that preschoolers don’t even know what you use a phone for anymore.

  9. Rae Pica says:

    Wondering what suggestions people have for children who have no idea how to play. How do we get them started? How do we help them feel comfortable with free play?

  10. Kim Woehl says:

    Call it old school but one thought quickly comes to mind. Have you seen a younger person try to make change without the assist of technology? This alone speaks to why we need to still teach children how to write. We may not always have access to electronics for many reasons and I feel like we must prepare children to still be able to function or we may slide back into the dark ages. When we look to the importance of the connections between sensory and fine motor we again have good reason to make sure that children are indeed getting this practice.

    Should children have keyboarding in kindergarten? I think there are so many other things that children need to learn that keyboarding can and should wait. “one-third of children entering school are developmentally delayed because of technology” (pg. 104). I don’t think that most parents know this as we see phones and other technology in the hands of infants all the time!

    It was no surprise at all when we read that Chris Rowan, a pediatric occupational therapist said that children are disconnecting from parents and from each other. In a world where social skills mean success, we are turning an entire generation into persons who don’t know how to have a conversation.

    Ms. Rae, you asked how we might help children who don’t know how to enter a play group. This is my passion area. I do much through puppets when children are not struggling. I learn who this child is and what their interests are. I often start by engaging in play (adult – child), and then later invite another child, one who is very flexible. I begin with roles in dramatic play that most can agree on. I find that good detective work up front helps to create better successes for the whole group. Many times this child who doesn’t enter play is doing this as a result of a missed skill so it is also very important to practice at the level they are at. One mistake we make often is to continue to look only at the area that they should be and so it is too hard or is not understood and so we not only do not see growth, but rather we see a child lose self – esteem and feel like a failure.

    I would also be mindful of any challenging behaviors that happen as a result of social mistakes. We so often talk to the child who made the mistake about better choices for next time or even a consequence for this behavior, but we seldom talk to the other children about how they can support this child. What are the expectations of this community? How will we support each other in this community? When we have a problem, how might we solve it?

  11. Heather Q says:

    http://hqtoddlers.blogspot.com/2016/06/plugged-in-and-checked-out.html

    Talk to your kids, read to your kids, write and draw with your kids, take your kids outside…don’t plug them in.

  12. Cindy Kish says:

    I totally agree that we don’t need to have all of the technology for preschool children. It is bad enough with most of the current toys on the market taking batteries and always doing something. Several years ago when I purchased some baby dolls and one of the new 3 year old in my care at the time brought me one of the new dolls and said needs batteries. She had no idea how to play with a doll that didn’t do something. My other children in my care just started to play with the dolls and she soon learned from the others how to play using her imagination. I don’t think it speaks well for us on a whole when even 3 year olds expect that everything will do something.

    I work hard to have many activities and supplies for my children that are rotated so they have different items to use and explore. I wish more people would see the value of toys and supplies that let the child use there imagination. When parents interview here I tell them we will show a child how to do something but they must do it on there own. As a example we will show them how watercolor pencils work but if they want to paint the sky on the bottom and the grass on top that is their creation. We will never say oh you have to put Santa’s beard on his face, if they want it on his foot it is up to them. I once had a friend come to me and said she put her child in a early learning center because she thought that was best for her, but one day she went to pick her child up and the teacher gave her the child’s art project. Mind you the child was only one and the picture was a very well painted picket fence with nice flowers in front of it with one orange fingerprint for a pumpkin. She told me you could see the teacher put a lot of work into all of the children’s projects but she felt bad because the only thing in the picture of her child’s was one fingerprint. She told me now I understand when you said the project they bring home may not look like what we said they were making but is what they made. It was soon after that I received that child in my care.

  13. Diana M says:

    I tend to agree with the side of less technology just because though it can be great tool if used properly, I have seen it misused so much that I personally just don’t use it much at all. And I know for a fact that there are several children in my class that are surrounded by screens the minute they get home. (I have one five year old who probably has seen every kid movie ever made and will talk forever about what video games he played the night before.) As others have pointed out, a child can easily catch up with other peers on how to use a specific technology rather quickly. Plus technology changes so rapidly now that it hardly pays to introduce a child to a more of technology at the age of 2 or 3 when it most likely will be out of mainstream use when they’re 6 or 7. Better time for them to be exploring with other senses in other ways in my opinion.

  14. Rachel D says:

    I agree with Rae Pica and her thoughts on keeping handwriting in the classroom. It is so important for those young children to be able to practice those fine-motor skills. Technology is such a big part of education as children advance further in their schooling that I don’t see why so much technology needs to be introduced at such a young age. We should be focusing more on children learning through play and less concerned about children who can be proficient in typing. Eventually those children will be able to “catch up” with the peers around them who have been exposed to other types of technology. Let’s focus on writing and gaining proficiency in that before we ask children to use technology that is constantly changing.

  15. Kelsie Brandl says:

    I work at a daycare and the only room that utilizes computers is the afterschool room. But I do get that many kids are starting to play with computers at a young age. The example with the twins is reassuring, though. I’ve been to elementary schools where there are those big “smart boards” in every room. Even the kindergarten rooms. But I seem them used as an easier type of white board. So handwriting was still taught. So technology can help in teaching handwriting as well. It’s the constant use of computers that’s the problem. I’ve often seen the topic of paperback/hardcover books becoming a thing of the past, having books uploaded to Kindle and other electronics. In ways of educational books, yes. Save the trees and your students money and upload away. But the physical connection made between a book and a person, the excitement as a child going to the library to choose a book, that gets erased.

  16. Samantha Miller says:

    Of what I know of child development it all points that movement is key to learning. So why would we put a child in front of a screen that does not encourage movement. Yes we live in a technology filled world and eventually a child will need to learn typing skills but as long as possible we need to encourage large motor play and learning fine motor skills. Technology has its proper place and using it at some times is beneficial in its proper place. Many times children have there own I pads at home and go home and immediately start playing so we as educators need to push for regular old play!

  17. Freda says:

    As much as writing legibly is great, forcing children to learn to write certain ways can be problematic. I went through high school trying to figure out why everyone of my peers wanted so badly to write cursive. I was never a big fan of writing certain ways and didn’t think it was healthy to try to implement these rules on any child. The idea of having kids use keyboards instead of a pen is even worse. First off, too much screen time is bad for the eyes and kids should be limited to how much time they spend on the screen for their own good. I would rather, as a parent, have my kids use a play doh than be on an ipad. I am not and have never been a fan of any games on screen. If a child has to use screen of any sort, it should be in moderation.

  18. Nikki Shapiro says:

    The great technology debate…I am a believer that children receive enough screen time and phone/ ipad/ tablet/ gaming system time at home and therefore I rarely use it in my childcare program. Children need to be active and engaged and learning their gross motor skills and fine motor skills through play. This morning I had a K girl before school and she was playing with her two year old sister and 3 1/2 year old friend. They were in the play kitchen making bottles for their babies. Then she showed me that she had found a square item and this was the babies cellphone and that the bigger rectangle shaped plate was the babies ipad for riding in the car and being quiet. I remember long car rides and doing scavenger hunts for letters, colors, license plates or landmarks. Those days are long gone. And I agree with the author that we are a country of extremes. Right now we are on the extreme end of being immediately connected with people and expect instant responses through our many methods of texting, messaging, snapchatting, etc. I am fascinated at the number of 2 and 3 year olds that talk about snapchat filters! This is why I choose to operate a nature play based program. I want the children in my care to have authentic experiences playing in nature and the outdoors. They have plenty of time to comply with the growing worlds interest in technology. For now, lets let them play.

    • Rae Pica says:

      So glad to know there’s SOMEONE with sense out there! On Friday I watched the 20/20 episode in which they talked about digital addiction…and, I tell you, it was frightening!! the experts recommend NO cell phones until age 10 and I am in full agreement. When I see a baby holding a cell phone — because a parent wants to keep him/her mollified and out of her/his hair, I want to snatch it away!

  19. Marcy Dragseth says:

    I enjoyed hearing about your grand daughter’s experience as well. They are similar to my children’s up bringing. I have pictures of them using their fantasy play. Building forts, setting up chairs for a bus ride with stuffed animals as passengers, puzzles, Plymouth, hop scotch etc…among other things. I can’t imagine if they hadn’t done this. Instead spent the time on a device. My daughter’s have told me they are thankful that they were able to play in this way as well.

    As a daycare provider I limit screen time as well. When daycare children bring a device. It is kept in their cubby’s. I would rather they play with their friends building with legos, playing with train tracks, etc… I feel it is important for kids to get this interaction.
    I fee that handwriting should also be taught in the school. It is important to improve on these motor skills. As a family, when we send out birthday, mother’s day, anniversary cards our whole family makes a point of writing in those cards. I think it makes the person receiving the cards that more grateful. So, if the art of writing is lost. I think people wouldn’t be as kind or thoughtful. I So I feel it is important for kids to keep writing.

  20. Kelly North says:

    I agree with Rae on both counts. I think kids need to learn cursive writing to help with their fine motor skills, but I also agree that when a child is older then keyboarding can be introduced. There is no need for electronics to be used by children under the age of 7 years old. I feel like some parents use the devices (iPhone, iPads, gaming consoles) to act as babysitters for their kids. They need to go outside and play and use their imagination!!

  21. Yi Ling (Ivy) Flanders says:

    I like to use a little bit of technology in the classroom, I introduce them to kids and show them how can we use them in our daily life, what’s good about them and what’s not so good.. We also really make sure they have enough free play time at the playground and other learning centers.

  22. Kirsten Barie says:

    I liked the point that Tamara brought up about the multiple forms of commuication methods and how we should focus on finding what is right for each child. I hadn’t thought about that before but I do tend to agree with it. What works well for one child may not for another. I do think that certain things such as screen time and keyboarding need to be introduced at the “proper time”, whenever that may be (people tend to disagree over when this is). I must say that it really irks me when we have families come to pick up their preschoolers and either they are on their cell phones or I see the younger siblings (even under 2 years old) glued to iPads or cell phones! These parents are missing out on wonderful opportunities to connect with their children. One more thing…as someone who loves to make and send handmade cards…I hope the art of writing a handwritten note or thank you doesn’t go out of existence!

  23. Steph Kallinen says:

    I run a pretty low tech day care- I don’t even like to have toys that take batteries! Like it was previously stated kids are surrounded by screens all the time (grocery store, home, in the car) so I think it is important that they are not while they are in my care.

    I totally agree with Kirsten in her comment above about parents being on their phones when they come in to pick up their kids. That is a huge pet peeve of mine. They have been away from their kids all day and they need to hang up and reconnect with them!

  24. Kathryn says:

    I think that it is a sad state that our educational system is in when it feels that learning how to write letter or even words, not just in printed form but also cursive writing as well. I feel that learning how to print and write in cursive is important for so many reasons. I was in Junior High School before I learned how to type things on a computer. I feel that I was because I had enough fine motor control and strength developed from birth to that point to be able to do the task. I believe that it is important to introduce children to technology but it has to be done with a meaning and a purpose. I got along just fine using pencil and paper to figure out math problems and writing out my essay assignments. I feel that school and teachers should either be low-tech or no-tech, which would be beneificial in so many ways. However, exceptions would be made for special needs children who need technology to communicate with the outside world.

  25. Samantha says:

    I was one of those moms who said well if every kid is doing it then my son can too. I was allowing my son to play on the tablet whenever he wanted. Now we leave it at home and schedule for it to shut off after an hour. We have found that we love to color and play hungry hungry hippos. Things I did when I was younger, my son loves to do. I believe tablets or iPads should stay out of schools. How about we buy better learning materials or new books or something. Some schools are already struggling with money, why get tablets. Let’s work on that food that’s on the menu. Most kids go home and spend all their time on the tv or computer or tablet. Let’s not allow that in schools.

  26. Shari Ernst says:

    Oh technology. I think just like everything to much is never a good thing. But I hope we never stop teaching our students writing skills. There will not always be a computer near by and at some point we all may have to write someone a note for some reason or another. I have the schools always maintain that tradition. I was a little sad to learn that cursive was going away. Then I thought well that can be my secret code writing that my kids will never understand. LOL. As a parent I of course want my children to learn a lot of the basics just as I did as a student.

  27. Melissa D says:

    While technology is all around us I firmly believe it has a very limited usefulness in an early education classroom. There are times when it is helpful but use should be minimal. I work in a center that has a limited screen time policy, there is zero use of computers (or other technologies) by the children themselves and limited use for the classrooms. Children are able to be exposed to these items in abundance outside of our program…playdough wins with me too!

  28. Karlee O says:

    I struggled with this segment. My husband used to be a teacher’s aid at a preschool actually majored in video game design and currently works for a tech company. Having had experience in early childhood education he has studied the benefits of technology for young children, and believe me the benefits do exist. That being said, we don’t allow our toddler aged son to use our phones or tablets and he has limited tv time if at all in a day.
    I think there is a balance in use of technology for young children. I think having zero technology for young children is unrealistic these days. What’s most important is how you use it. I don’t think kindergarteners need ipads at their tables for their entire class period. However, if a teacher finds a way to beneficially use an ipad as part of a lesson I don’t think they should be condemned simply for introducing children to technology.
    One thought I had for the keyboarding skills chapter was a teacher I had heard of who had her students use old unplugged keyboards to practice spelling words. The children weren’t staring at a screen while practicing but it implemented another way for them to practice their spelling words which might connect better for visual or kinesthetic learners while also introducing children to keyboarding skills.

  29. Jill B says:

    Blakely had a great point of offering all different kinds of tools for children to learn through. The only electronics I use in my care is a tv for gonoodle and cosmic kids yoga when we can’t go outside. My own kids get limited electronics time. My youngest was having trouble learning to read so we tried a recommended app and he caught on thanks to the different way of learning. It may be useful for different learning disabilities as well. There is a time and a place for them. I don’t know what age keyboarding should start, but we recently had a conversation about cursive in our home. I was kind of surprised it is still taught. Then my husband reminded me of signatures. I wasn’t aware of the other skills learned in the process of keyboarding. What I am taking away from this book so far, is balance is necessary as well as an open mind and meeting kids at a learning style that works for them. We need to think about what, why and how we teach for the children in our care.

  30. Amy Carter says:

    One of my daughters is just starting to learn cursive in school this week. I was so relieved to know they are still teaching it because I wasn’t sure if they were or not. I think it’s a important skill to learn. There’s plenty of time to learn to keyboard later. We are people first- and need to learn to do things without being so reliant on computers. To me handwriting and cursive are very basic skills and really only adds to a personal ability to express themselves and communicate.
    As for iPads for little children, I’m very against it. Again, plenty of time for it later. Kids need to be able to entertain themselves without a screen. Not only that- I notice bad behavior when there’s too much screen time for my kids. My girls had received little handheld Nintendo games for Christmas last year. I had a time limit put on them at first but it bothered me how much they wanted to play them. So I then put them in the car to use only for car rides. That began to bother me as well, looking back and seeing them glued to the screen. So I replaced them with a bag of books in the car. The Nintendos are now only allowed out for very long car rides for and only for short time. And as for IPads- we won’t be doing them anytime soon, if at all.

  31. MARY MARTIN says:

    Yes technology is on a roll to control the universe. My grandkids are so addicted to tablets it greives me. There so many thinks being taken from education and replaced with technology and I don’t think the education these days is anything like it should be.
    I agree with many here when it is said teach our children the basics and the rest will come. It is very important for children to know how to write in cursive. This is something that goes with them everywhere in their life.
    Get rid of tablets and computers until they are in middle school. We need to give them the skills we can. Don’t get me wrong a small amount of time every so often on tablets or computers is fine be but not on an everyday basis.

  32. Tasha Martin says:

    This subject is hard for me. My children yes even my 3 year old has a tablet and can use it pry better than I can. I agree that they are most likely missing out of other things they could be learning but I also am a younger parents that realizes its almost 2018 everything work some way shape or form through electronics and in order for our younger generations to be able to live in this world as adults they need to be up to date. By time our young children are adults its going to be so much worse and I would rather know I did what I could to help prepare them even if I may not fully agree with it

  33. Arissa Kordell says:

    Technology has made life easier on so many levels. Through technology we can communicate across the world within seconds, we can access thousands of resources at the drop of a hat, and while driving we can find directions immediately with Google maps. I love when a kid asks me a question that I don’t know the answer to such as “How many stars are in the galaxy” I can look it up and answer them “10 thousand million stars”. As an adult I love technology however I do not agree with the fact that kids younger and younger are using technology. Every kid seems to have a tablet and kids are getting cell phones so young now. As a daycare provider I see kids as young as 3 and 4 who have tablets and play games or look things up on YouTube. I have a rule in my daycare that tablets are not allowed. I do not agree with our kids spending all their time looking at a little screen playing games or watching videos when they could be playing with real toys or outside enjoying the fresh air. My niece just turned 10 and for her birthday my sister got her a cell phone. Now when you see my niece she always has her face glued to the phone screen! Everyone asks me when my daughter is going to have a tablet and cell phone because it has become the norm. It frustrates me to think that we are allowing that to be the norm for our children!!

  34. Laura says:

    This is a tough subject for many people/families.. Technology… I personally do not have much technology in our daycare setting or our home for that matter…. The kids in my care are lucky if they get a half hour of tv shows a week… They need to learn to play with their imagination and with each other.. Not going to lie, at times I wish my 2 year old would sit down and watch an episode of cartoons or a show but he doesn’t, he maybe sits for 5-10 minutes. Trust me I know that this is a good thing and he goes off and plays verse someone who knows every cartoon character there is out there on the television. I have learned to keep him busy and occupied with sensory bins and art act ivies. he is a very busy body and that is one thing with this book that I have truly learned.. Now days there is so much technology and people on phones or tablets…. If you go out to a restaurant it is very rare that you see a couple or a family at that matter sitting and enjoying a meal together having a conversation verse each individual member of the family looking down on the phone.

  35. Kora says:

    I definitely agree that cursive writing should still be taught. How would kids read the cursive writing of their ancestors or anyone else? I personally use print and cursive when I write. I don’t understand why anyone would give kids homework on Microsoft word, when they don’t know how to even use a keyboard. Definitely wait. As for iPad and playdoh, my kids like both. I try to limit all electronics for my kids, especially during daycare. I think its good to have both since they will live in such a technological world.

  36. Bobbie S says:

    Teaching children communication we use voice and handwritting. At my infant toddler age I have magnet boards I show these to parents even tell them the website I got them (for those that do not want colors or markers for toddlers yet). Before preK we start learning our Abc’s in whip cream or shaving cream. I also tell kids to stop, think, and then say how they are feeling or what is going on inside them. I use the story of tommy the turtle and change the name of the turtle to their name.
    No technology is used by daycare kids.

  37. Joni Helmeke says:

    Technology and child development have interested my for a long time. As a part of my master’s program in communication I did a research project on how tv and “screen time” effects young children. The studies highlighted that reading on screens and in print required different parts of the brain. It also requires something different visually as well. The studies said that no screen time was advisable for children under 2- that their brains weren’t capable of processing the fast paced changes they were seeing and that it could cause problems with their visual tracking later on. That’s me on one hand, on the other are those who say, as the author points out, that we live in a technological age and children will be exposed to technology and can’t help but be immersed in it- even from birth. I found these chapters on the debate around teaching handwriting and keyboarding as well as computers in early childhood refreshing- in that I have yet another voice with additional research saying that the “old way” of doing things- manually- are still important and that it really Isn’t good for young children to be encouraged, or required, to learn technology at such an early age. I’ll keep in mind the recommendation that children not be exposed to computers until age 7 in mind, when raising my daughters and in my work with other young children. In answer to the commentator’s thought question- How can you create learning and playing environments that value the 4cs of 21st century skills-communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking? I am very aware of the importance for my girls to learn these sills. They are what employers and spouses and friends will be looking for from them in the future. They are learning their letters and to “use their words” already as toddlers. They like to be challenged and to be learning.

  38. Sue says:

    Handwriting still needs to be taught. My thought is use it or loose it. I like the idea of slowing down to hand write versus typing fast on a keyboard. Grade schools in MN are now using IPads for their students to do their work on. I could not finger all keys on the keyboard until junior high school. I also like the idea of no computers for kids before seven years old.

  39. Terri VanHoudt says:

    i decided NO Screens at anytime after school. The girls would be on cell phones when i wasn’t looking. or if i give them time to be on them, they would make excuses for some reason the weren’t on a time i set, or needed more time. Soon i said No time. Ended the fights

  40. Terri VanHoudt says:

    With kids needing hand eye coordination for 1, and just the fine motor skills i cannot understand why they would take handwriting out of our schools. We have lost our connection between people and that knowledge that someone took the time to personally write you a handwritten note. I just think it is wonderful when someone takes the time to write me a little Thank You note or something. The kids that are Kinetic(sp) that need the touch to learn, how are they going to get that connection between the feeling of writing that letter and the mind. When you use keyboarding all the keys feel the same, there is no feeling of the letters to connect the mind with the letter. Just the history of writing alone is reason to keep the art of writing viable. To lose cursive is just a crime. There are so many kids these days that cannot read cursive, it is just crazy!

    I think there is a fine line with the playdoh and they ipad. Playdoh is a must, it builds finger strength, creativity, and fine motor. I think the ipad learning games are acceptable in small doses. I can see how they are ruining the kids thought process and the health. Kids just want to be connected all the time. Really young kids are affected. You would be hard to find a 1 year old that didn’t know how to turn a ipad or phone on. So many times now, you see families out and about and parents are on the phones. Not connecting when they are together, kids are just looking around when parents are looking down, not engaging at all. I am even guilty of when i go to visit my mother who has been a widow since 2016 and is still grieving, i use my phone to check facebook or whatever. How sad is that my Mother who is 84 and i cannot take a couple of hours our of my week to just spend one on one with her. I am working hard on it but it some what of a addiction. I see people all the time, who say they are taking breaks from Social Media and with in a week or so they are back at it. So if us as Grown-ups who are suppose to know right from wrong and be able to tell ourselves no when something is not good for us, what is it doing to the young minds that are not fully developed.

  41. Jessica Kabogoza says:

    I find this subject to, at times, be really murky to wade through. I am constantly aware of my own children’s and the children in my daycare’s use of technology. We are not a completely tech free family, but I do try to play very close attention and be extremely thoughtful about what I allow my children to view. I think there are a lot of positive and educational programs on television right now. I think that in moderation, they can be a fun tool to use to inform them about certain subjects. One of the biggest problems I see today is the overuse of YouTube for kids. There are so many videos geared towards kids that are absolutely worthless. The ones that come to mind right away are all the toy review videos. There is nothing in them that are beneficial for young minds, and to add to all the other things wrong with them, there are many that have an advertisement for horror films or something sexually explicit that you can’t fast forward through. Technology is EVERYWHERE and it’s not leaving. As parents, and educators, it’s up to us to manage the usage and content.

  42. Liz says:

    Technology is all around us and I agree that we need to limit it. Maybe an important question to ask ourselves each time we reach for technology “Is why are we using it?”.

  43. Nallely says:

    The issue of computers for children causes a lot of controversy. Some educators are reluctant to put a computer in an early childhood classroom. Why? Most current experts assume that children learn by “building their own knowledge” by being immersed in an environment rich in opportunities, where they can explore, manipulate objects and solve problems. Within this current, teachers consider that counting, reading and writing are very similar to walking and talking. They trust that children acquire these skills when they are ready to do so, as long as they are given the opportunity to practice and experiment in an environment in which they find support, without pressure. Some experts see the software of repetitive exercises, designed to reinforce the knowledge of numbers, geometric figures, and letters and worry that computers in schools can be used to push children faster than they should. They say that this will encourage them to learn in isolation from others. However, some people fear that children who spend a lot of time in front of computers become passive and antisocial. They worry that computers are too abstract for the little ones. They suggest that the experience with paintings, blocks, costumes and musical instruments benefits them more than the computerized versions of those experiences. On the other hand, there is a large number of child experts, also committed, who despite agreeing with the fact that there is a lot of software that does not take into account the levels of development, believe that the appropriate programs, used as a tool more of learning, can make a lot of difference in children. Adding computers and software appropriate to their environment has positive consequences including an increase in cooperative activity. “(For example, children playing together and helping each other on the computer.) He agrees that the computer provides a symbolic experience rather than a direct learning experience. , and points out that: “Young children interact in a meaningful way with other symbolic materials they find in books that are read or taught by adults.
    In today’s world, technology has in fact become a great leveler that helps people with disabilities to do activities that are typical of the world they see, like using a computer to read and write. Try to take advantage of opportunities to meet older children and adults with visual impairments who use technological devices to ask what they use and the pros and cons of each. We could implement a reasoned and balanced use in the classroom without ceasing to use crayons, play dough and other games with which children can have healthy fun without computers becoming an obsession in their learning but a tool for their development.

  44. Laura Borchardt says:

    Screen time in my classroom is used when we are talking about a subject that I don’t have any pictures for and need to google an image to show the preschoolers. If we are learning about monarch caterpillars for example I might look up a YouTube video of a monarch caterpillar turning into a chrysalis. I find using our tablet for these types of situations enriches their learning experience. We also take pictures to send to parents of the children at play and sometimes record them during their play or performing a play or singing a song. They love to see themselves and their peers on the screen. I think the ways in which we do screen time are appropriate and help the children collaborate with each other and be creative. We do not allow for games or shows to be watched.

  45. Anna Patnode says:

    Week 12 – 8/20/19
    Reading – chapters 21, 22, and 23
    I appreciate the constant reminders in this book how children will do something when they are ready. As a preschool teacher we being to focus on handwriting, letter form, tracing, shapes, etc. I appreciate the reminder that fine motor comes after large gross motor. Knowing this and allowing it to be what directs the classroom objectives are two completely different things.
    I love the idea of teaching and training children to pick tools that are best for them to communicate. I think the easiest way we can teach our children to use tools appropriately is to be a good example, obviously this applies more to our own children but I think it also carries over to children in our classrooms.
    Being a preschool teacher in my own home I don’t have much technology available or used. I believe that parents in my program appreciate this and therefore don’t struggle much with this. I think more parents wish technology wasn’t so focused on in classrooms as technology is very much a part of most homes.

  46. DeAnna Stowe says:

    Technology can be good if used in small quantities. I think the dilemma for parents today is that many are very busy with their own schedules. Parents may think what better way than to set their child in front of the television with the assumption that it will teach them their alphabet, numbers, colors, ect. Sometimes it might not even be a television, it could be a tablet with a child watching you tube, or a cellphone playing learning games. Parent/child bonding is VERY important in their early years. Children need that bonding time with their parents, singing the alphabet together, learning their shapes, ect for them to grow mentally healthy. An electronic device cannot provide this emotional bond for the child.

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