The Role of Technology in Early Childhood Education

Thursday - September 11, 2014

New technological devices like tablets, smart phones, and video games, can all have a place in early childhood education, but need to be understood and used appropriately.


Ask most parents what they think about their kids using technology, and you’ll get polarizing answers. Some of them think they’re great recreational tools, while others think they’re completely unacceptable for use.

But what place does technology really have for young, developing minds? Digital screens won’t exactly kill brain cells or turn minds into mush, but they can distract children from experiencing the reality of the outdoors and interpersonal communication.

Most new forms of technology rely on visual and audio stimulation, engaging the participant in a series of simulations (whether those simulations are movies, games, or something else). When used carefully and appropriately, these simulations can give the child access to new information or scenes that he/she may otherwise be unable to experience. They can also teach valuable lessons about the world.

The problem comes in when these simulations are abused, used wantonly and in place of any real world experiences. The effects of technology on infants and toddlers is not well understood, so must be used with caution and discipline. Older children, as well, need some form of limitation or control in order to continue using these devices appropriately.

Few long-term scientific studies have been able to confirm or deny the effects of technology on growing minds, mostly because the technology is relatively new. However, it appears that using technology occasionally can enhance the learning experience—so long as that use is carefully monitored and intentionally directed.

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