Theo Mic Show me app 2

The popularity of iPads in the education system has been constantly a heated topic of discussion. Since Apple introduced the iPad in April, 2010, not much research has been done on the use of iPads in the early years as compared to the use of iPads with children six years and older. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics young infants and toddlers under age two should not have any screen time. However, in preschool age children ages 3-5, it is limited to one hour per day of screen time.

To prepare the next generation of innovators and researchers, we have to start making changes in our classrooms, so children can see technology tools being integrated effectively and intentionally.  In my preschool classroom, I encourage my young explorers to engage in self-inquiry and learning by constantly connecting the dots that would lead their young minds to become problem solvers.

The environment is one of the best teachers, and I encourage my students to take advantage of the Florida weather by using the outdoor environment to engage in learning about the world around them as much as they spend time in indoor learning. The iPads enhance those learning experiences, social interactions and spirit of collaboration among my students. I have observed the high level of engagement of my students as they begin to notice different objects, inquire about them, wonder what those objects are for, and eventually gain knowledge through self-discovery and further explorations.  Having my students documenting themselves and narrating their experiences is what I focus on as a teacher. There are two iPad applications that I find more easy to use by children: Shadow Puppet, and Show Me.  These two apps not only support cognition, but also directly Mia Dad PTC ipadimpact the students learning, thinking, explaining, recalling, narrating, and social and emotional development. These apps not only serve children but allow me to be more connected with my students, to be more aware of their skills as they narrate their learning experiences.

Both these apps have built in feature to share with the families which increases the family engagement in my classroom. Many families continue to explore at home and share their experiences with our students. Families are a valuable resource and I love getting them involved in the classroom’s research topics. This allows the families, children and the school to be more connected, to be in sync.

With technology becoming more prevalent as a means of sharing information and communicating with one another, early childhood educators have an opportunity to build stronger relationships with parents and enhance family engagement (NAEYC & FRC, 2012)

Young children need opportunities to develop the early “technology-handling” skills associated with early digital literacy. By integrating these technology tools in the early childhood classrooms, we are helping to build a new generation of thought-leaders.

Pictures courstey of Saira Mir from Miami-Dade County Public School’s iPrep Academy

Integrating technology in the early years: Inquiry and learning
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About the author

Saira Mir
Saira Mir is a teacher in Miami-Dade County Public School's iPrep Academy, Nova Southeastern University adjunct professor, University of Florida adjunct professor, United Way of Miami-Dade trainer and PAS assessor. Additionally, she facilitates community trainings and webinars on social and emotional development, early literacy and transition to kindergarten as a United Way of Miami-Dade ODT trainer. She has over 14 years of experience working in the field of early childhood education.

Her educational background includes a Bachelor’s degree in Pre-K Primary and a Master’s degree in Early Literacy from Nova Southeastern University. Currently, she is enrolled in the Doctoral Program in Early Childhood Education at Nova Southeastern University. She feels that her experience as an educator and trainer in the Early Childhood has given her the sensitivity to be a part of a bigger organization like NAEYC and SFAEYC.

Saira’s future goal is to complete her Ph.D. and be able to raise awareness to the early childhood field, the importance of family involvement, and teacher’s professional development.
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