Challenges exist, but research studies report the benefits of carefully selected developmentally appropriate and interactive technology tools and materials to enhance children's learning and development as effectively as playing and working with non-technology materials.
I always keep in mind that other external factors, the children's personal relationships or perceived value of the digital materials, or children's ability and experiences with play (play with and without technologies) impact child's digital play For example, a bioecological perspective emphasizes understanding children's development and the child's reciprocal interactions with people, objects, and symbols in a variety of social contexts as well as the interrelation among the various settings or spheres in which the child functions. Children's affordances, access to Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), as well as family beliefs about technology uses, impact how technologies are used to enhance development and how children socialize with materials and other peers/ teachers.
The child's experiences with ICT, if repeated and personally relevant, will enhance success with those technologies (time and process, so if they have more time at home with materials, they might play differently at school). Each child's unique personal characteristics, skills, cognition, and limitations due to any special needs play a part in both how the child progresses, what the child learns, and how the child uses technology (person). How children utilize and how often children utilize technologies throughout their life spans, as well as the timing of the cultural climate in history, shape agency in each child's own learning and development.
I would suggest starting with the guiding resource:
- National Association for the Education of Young Children & Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children's Media at Saint Vincent College. (2012). Technology and interactive media as tools in early childhood programs serving children from birth through age 8. Washington, DC: NAEYC; Latrobe, PA: Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children's Media at Saint Vincent College.
Then, to support Early Educators during the pandemic, supported by Naeyc, we shared the following that are practical applications of high quality interactive and intentional uses of technologies:
Bales, D., Dalsemer, K., Blagojevic, B., Hartle, L., Chung, N., Gardner, K., MacLeod, K., Rodriguez-Vazquez, J. (September, 2020). Using Technology to Enhance Children's Learning at Home and at School: Building Relationships is Key. Washington DC: NAEYC. https://www.naeyc.org/resources/blog/using-technology-enhance-childrens-learning-home-and-school (On this Website.. you'll find in the links and references to the following Webinars; also on https://wke.lt/w/s/7ELzSR )
NAEYC, Technology and Young Children Interest Forum Webinar "Children and Families as Creators & Storytellers: New Digital Directions for Learning at Home" March 30, 2020. (Organized, provided Platform, Edited, Promoted/ Marketed on Social Media & NAEYC platforms.)
NAEYC, Technology and Young Children Interest Forum Webinar: "Lessons Learned: Children and Families as Creators & Storytellers, New Digital Directions for Learning at Home" May 18, 2020. (Organized, provided Platform, Edited, Promoted/ Marketed on Social Media & NAEYC platforms)
Many other resources point to interactive/ dynamic relationships between children and the uses of technologies. Here are some:
- Arnott L. An ecological exploration of young children's digital play: framing children's social experiences with technologies in early childhood. Early Years.2015;36(3):271-288. doi:10.1080/09575146.2016.1181049.)
- Donohue, C. (Ed.). (2020). Exploring Key Issues in Early Childhood and Technology: Evolving Perspectives and Innovative Approaches. New York: Routledge. http://teccenter.erikson.edu/publications/exploring-key-issues/ https://www.routledge.com/Exploring-Key-Issues-in-Early-Childhood-and-Technology-Evolving-Perspectives/Donohue/p/book/9781138313804
- Edwards, S. (2020) Digital play. In C. Donohue, (Ed.). Exploring Key Issues in Early Childhood and Technology: Evolving Perspectives and Innovative Approaches. New York: Routledge.
- Edwards, S. (2016). New concepts of play and the problem of technology, digital media and popular-culture integration with play-based learning in early childhood education. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 25(4), 513-532.
- Hartle, L. (2020). Technology and young children: Processes, context, research, and practice. In Cohen, L. E. & Waite-Stupianski, S. STEM in Early Childhood Education: How Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Strengthen Learning. New York, NY: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group.
- Hartle, L., Bales, D., Gardner, K., MacLeod, K., DeFluri, M., & Ehinger, S. (2021). Early Childhood Teacher Professional Development on Technologies for Young Children. In J. Burris, D. Rosen, & D. Karno (Ed.), Handbook of Research on Empowering Early Childhood Educators With Technology(pp. 102-126). IGI Global. http://doi:10.4018/978-1-7998-6888-0.ch006
- Scott, F. L. (April 2021) Digital Technology and Play in Early Childhood. https://www.child-encyclopedia.com/technology-early-childhood-education/according-experts/digital-technology-and-play-early-childhood
Other Influential Technology and Children Position Papers on specific issues related to young children's uses and engagement with types of technologies as well as needed teacher professional development, such as those from the TEC center at Erikson - http://teccenter.erikson.edu/tec/10-reports-you-should-read/ include following:
- American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Communications and Media. (2016). Media and young minds. Pediatrics, 138 (5). http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/138/5/e20162591.full
- Bird J, Edwards S. Children learning to use technologies through play: A Digital Play Framework. British Journal of Educational Technology. 2015;46(6):1149-1160. doi:10.1111/bjet.12191.
- Common Sense Media. (2017). Common sense census: Media use by kids zero to eight. San Francisco, CA: Author. https://www.commonsensemedia.org/research.
- Donohue, C., & Schomburg, R. (2017). Technology and interactive media in early childhood programs: What we've learned from five years of research, policy, and practice. Young Children, 72, (4), 72-78.
- Early Childhood STEM Working Group (January, 2017). Early STEM matters: Providing high-quality STEM experiences for all young learners. Chicago, ILL: author. Retrieved at http://ecstem.uchicago.edu
- Flynn RM, Richert RA. Parents support preschoolers' use of a novel interactive device. Infant and Child Development. 2015;24:624-642. doi:10.1002/icd.1911.
- Hirsh-Pasek, K., Zosh, J.M., Golinkoff, R.M., Gray, J.H., Robb, M.B., & Kaufman, J. (2015). Putting education in "educational" apps: Lessons from the science of learning. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 16 (1), 3 – 34.
- Levine, M.H. (April, 2018). What does the research say about tech and kids' learning? Part 1 & 2. New York: NY: The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Street Workshop. http://joanganzcooneycenter.org/blog/ .
- Marsh J, Murris K, Ng'ambi D, et al. Children, technology and play. Billund, DK; The LEGO Foundation: 2020. https://www.legofoundation.com/media/2965/children-tech-and-play_full-report.pdf.
- Marsh J, Plowman L, Yamada-Rice D, Bishop J, Scott F. Digital play: A new classification. Early Years. 2016;36(3):242-253. doi:10.1080/09575146.2016.1167675
- Moore HL, Adair JK. "I'm just playing iPad": Comparing prekindergarteners' and preservice teachers' social interactions while using tablets for learning. Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education. 2015;36:362–378. doi:10.1080/10901027.2015.1104763.
- Paciga, K.A. & Donohue, C. (2017). Technology and interactive media for young children: A whole child approach connecting the vision of Fred Rogers with research and practice. Latrobe, PA: Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children's Media at Saint Vincent College. http://www.fredrogerscenter.org/frctecreport .
- Plowman L, McPake J, Stephen C. Just picking it up? Young children learning with technology at home. Cambridge Journal of Education. 2008;38(3):303-319.
- Plowman L. Rethinking context: Digital technologies and children's everyday lives. Children's Geographies. 2016;14(2):190-202. doi:10.1080/14733285.2015.1127326.
- Puerling, B. (2018). Teaching in the digital age for preschool and kindergarten: Enhancing curriculum with technology. St. Paul, MN: Redleaf Press.
- Robb, M., Catalano, R., Smith, T., Polojac, S., Figlar, M., Minzenberg, B., Schomburg, R. (2014). Checklist for identifying exemplary uses of technology and interactive media for early learning: The Pennsylvania digital media literacy project. http://www.fredrogerscenter.org/2014/02/how-am-i-doing-checklist-exemplary-uses-of-technology-early-learning/
- Scott FL, Marsh, JA. Digital literacies in early childhood. In: Noblit GW, Adams N, Beach D, et al., eds. The Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2018. doi:10.1093/acrefore/9780190264093.013.97
- Shapiro, J. (March 2, 2018). Digital play for global citizens. New York: The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop. http://joanganzcooneycenter.org/publication/digital-play-for-global-citizens/
- Simon, F., & Nemeth, K.N. (2012). Digital decisions: Choosing the right technology tools for early childhood. Lewisville, NC: Gryphon House.
- S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Technology. (October, 2016). Early learning and educational technology policy brief. Washington, D.C.: Author. https://tech.ed.gov/files/2016/10/Early-Learning-Tech-Policy-Brief.pdf .
- Wood, Elizabeth, Nuttall, Joce, Edwards, Susan and Grieshaber, Susan 2020. Young children's digital play in early childhood settings: Curriculum, pedagogy and teachers' knowledge. in: O. Erstad Bettina Kümmerling-Meibauer, I. Pereira, R. Flewitt and B. Kümmerling-Meibauer & I. Pereira (ed.) The Routledge Handbook of Digital Literacies in Early ChildhoodUnited Kingdom: Routledge. pp. 214 – 226.
I hope these help you. I can't wait to hear more about your Graduate Course and what you are exploring! Lynn
Professor of Education
The Penn State Univ. Brandywine
Sent: 10-19-2021 03:56 PM
From: Zondrah Greene
Subject: Children and Technology
I am new to the organization, and I am enrolled in an Instructional Technology class in graduate school. Due to the pandemic, schools had to shift with technology and student usage. Based on your opinion/experience, at what age should children begin using technology in school on a daily basis?