Technology and the Preschooler: As Easy as 1-2-3

Technology and the Preschooler: As Easy as 1-2-3

Lesia Lennex (Morehead State University, USA), Kimberely Fletcher Nettleton (Morehead State University, USA) and Nikita Murphy (Morehead State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0068-3.ch007

Abstract

More and more, schools are purposefully utilizing technology in the classroom for learning. As the technology era expands, the age of those interacting with technology seems to be shrinking. Can children in preschool benefit from the use of instructional technology? Children are highly adaptable and learn at faster rates than adults. Their brains are wired for increased synthesis of complex operations such as speech acquisition and even technology. In what way(s) would they best learn from technology? What learning behaviors could help shape preschool curriculum? Examination of how students explore, navigate, and interact with technologies provides direction for best practices in teaching.
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Literature Review

Leaving the cocoon of babyhood behind, but not quite ready for the independence of elementary school, the 3-5 year old child is at a unique juncture in life. Still very egocentric, the preschool child is learning about the world quickly. Children at this age are very curious and imaginative, and learn at a tremendous rate during these early years. Learning achieved during play is valuable to preschoolers. Children make sense of their world through role play, while play interactions teach them to negotiate with other children (Kolas, Munkvold, & Thorshaug, 2010). Piaget calls this period of life the concrete stage (Charles, 1974). Children live in a world of clear rules and their view of the world is limited to their experiences, All of the senses must be engaged when learning because children are constantly making connections between their experiences and new information (Piaget, 1965). The more intricate the scaffold of knowledge that preschool children create, the more they will learn to make connections, transfer learning, and generalize (Taylor, 2006).

Vygotsky suggested that children learn within a social-cultural milieu. Children at this age learn from the authorities in their lives; a parent, teacher, or a more knowledgeable peer. Vygotsky (1978) defines the period when children move form one level of understanding to the next, the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD). Because the ZPD is different for everyone, the developmental milestones of individual preschool children are varied. Children may go through a ZPD either quickly, or slowly, but learning takes place within the zone (Gredler, 2005). As children learn, they attempt to fit the new information into their existing schema (James, 2001; Steele, 2005).

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