Emergent Digital Literacy and Mobile Technology: Preparing Technologically Literate Preservice Teachers Through a Multisensory Approach

Emergent Digital Literacy and Mobile Technology: Preparing Technologically Literate Preservice Teachers Through a Multisensory Approach

Helen Mele Robinson (College of Staten Island/CUNY, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3417-4.ch061
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Higher education early childhood teacher preparation programs in the United States are guided by the National Association for the Education of Young Children Standards for Initial and Advanced Early Childhood Professional Preparation Programs (NAEYC, 2010). With technology infused throughout the standards, teacher preparation programs are confronted with the challenge of priming preservice teachers to be technologically literate educators ready to cultivate engaging curriculum for 21st century learners. It is essential for early childhood educators to bring together components from developmentally appropriate practice, multiple intelligence theory, and emergent digital literacy to form an effective curriculum plan. This chapter offers details of a teacher preparation program that utilizes a multisensory learning approach to prepare early childhood preservice teachers who are capable of infusing technology into developmentally appropriate curriculum planning.
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A young child’s trajectory for academic and life success is established during the preschool years at a time when children are acquiring new habits for learning and social development (Shuler, 2009). The quandary confronting teachers is how to engage young students with activities that are developmentally appropriate while meeting the educational requirements of their school, city, and state. Early childhood educators teaching young students are faced with the challenge of providing an engaging curriculum for children born into a technologically ubiquitous world.

According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) 2012 Technology Position statement, “Technology and interactive media are here to stay…Young children are growing up at ease with digital devices that are rapidly becoming the tools of the culture at home, at school, at work, and in the community” (p. 2). Mobile technology devices including cell phones, smartphones, tablets such as iPads, and game systems are portable devices whose use is rapidly expanding (The Children’s Partnership, 2012). Children are considered one of the largest new user groups of mobile technology, with these technology devices being both extolled and disparaged, especially in relation to their role in educational settings (Druin, 2009). Higher education teacher preparation programs need to understand the profile of the young students who are entering the school setting and prepare future early childhood teachers who are technologically literate and capable of doing so with a developmentally appropriate curriculum.

In the United States the Common Core State Standards Initiative focuses predominantly on English Language Arts and Mathematics, which have increasingly become the main subjects focused on in elementary school settings. Still, even as this pervasive government view infringes on the inclusion of Science, Social Studies, physical activity, and expressive arts into curriculum planning; there is increased recognition that children have and should develop multiple ways of seeing and knowing, which has provided a stimulus for schools to expand the curriculum beyond the teaching of logical/mathematical and verbal knowledge to include the multiple intelligences (Gardner & Hatch, 1989). Howard Gardner’s (2012)Theory of Multiple Intelligence (MI) offers possibilities for a teaching approach which targets a broad range of skills and abilities of students through multisensory experiences. This chapter will delve into how an early childhood teacher preparation program utilized a multisensory learning process to prepare preservice teachers to understand how to create a developmentally appropriate and technologically infused curriculum.

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