Embedding Technology in the Early Years and KS1

Remote Control Toys

Children love remote control toys and they provide an easy and fun way of including technology into the classroom. These toys could be left out for children to freely access and explore, or challenges could be set up, for example: have a list of instructions suitable for the children to follow e.g. state a starting point, 10 fairy steps forwards, turn left, 15 fairy steps forward, turn right – where am I? Alternatively, the children could right their own instructions. This will contribute to the children’s understanding of direction, distance and spatial awareness.

Embedding ICT across all areas of learning

ICT can be used in a dynamic way to raise standards of learning, and this video demonstrates how everyday technology can be used with children:

Household technology such as microwaves will look familiar to young children but many of them will not have had the opportunity to use one. I think it is a great idea to bring one into the classroom and involve children in cooking their own snack; this will cover many areas of learning including mathematics as they will be using the timer on the microwave. Teachers can reinforce the technical language for such appliances and the children will be more likely to remember this as they are using it in a meaningful context as well as being physically engaged.

Sparklebox provide a play dough recipe suitable for microwave use, the children could learn how to make play dough and enjoy playing with something they have created themselves:

Whilst such learning is taking place, I would also use digital cameras, voice/video recorders with the children to capture their learning which provides great evidence for assessment. The children could also help to download photographs or even edit videos or create digital stories about their experience.

ICT can be used to extend the learning that is already taking place or to link familiar experiences with new ones e.g. children are familiar with a story; their learning could be extended by providing them with props and a video recording device (webcam, ipad, video recorder) enabling them to instantly play their performance back; they will love seeing themselves on the screen and this will also reinforce the language used in the story.

Multimodal Texts

Scholastic provide free resources for multimodal texts which are advocated to be used during the teaching of literacy through the use of the internet, digital cameras, sound recorders and presentation software. Children can be encouraged to listen to instructions whilst making something, such as puppets. They can pause after each instruction which allows for differentiation; children are able to work at a pace suitable for them. The children could then make their own sound recorded instructions – this could be done in pairs and once complete, they could swap sound recordings with another pair and try them out!

Alternatively, videos can be used (without verbal sound – it may have instrumental music playing as a sound-over) so the children can make their own written commentary; through not having verbal sound to accompany the video, the children will be using their imagination and developing their creativity more than if they were provided with key vocabulary.

A Great Example of Multimedia Instructions

I recently attended a Theatrical Dance course where I was taught how to teach children dance routines to accompany musicals. For the chorus, all the children dance the same moves and for each verse the children are free to make up their own routines. High School Musical has a great video which breaks down the dance moves to make the routine more manageable to learn, and the advantage is that is can be skipped back and played as many times as necessary.

However, this is just an idea… children could video record their instructions for anything they wanted to and these could be used to teach other children.

 I am now more aware of how technology, beyond the use of computers, can be embedded into the EYFS and KS1 to enhance children’s learning and also to directly teach children how to use technology itself. The drawbacks may include lack of resources so finding suitable alternatives would be necessary and making justified suggestions to the ICT coordinator could make a difference to the children’s experiences.