Universidad de Málaga (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN10 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Pages: 6116-6119
ISBN: 978-84-613-9386-2
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-7 July, 2010
Location: Barcelona, Spain
ICTs are bringing about a transformation in the economic, political and cultural society in general. It is necessary for schools to adapt to the changing needs of their students so as not to become obsolete. It is also essential to answer the numerous challenges of our times characterized by technological change due to rapid developments in technology, especially those associated with communications and computers.
Computers should be seen as flexible and powerful tools that improve teaching and learning. The needs of individual children are me in a more attractive and exciting way. They promote independence and provide access to a wide range of information, encouraging children to explore and create.
Research on the subject has shown that an appropriate use of information technology allows to develop skills on maths, collaboration between children, written language and verbal skills, among others.
Despite the importance of familiarizing a child with technology, there are hardly any studies that describe and analyze the actual process of integrating technology in pre-school education. This is the starting point of our research, to verify the practices of educators and Portuguese children in pre-school education.
A questionnaire was elaborated and emailed to educators across the country from September 2008 to July 2009. In August 2009 we proceeded to the processing of the collected data. The population incorporated 363 pre-school teachers nationwide. As a form of triangulation of data observations were also conducted in two kindergartens. This observations took place in computer classes for children from pre-school, where the subject's behavior was observed in several sessions over 7 months (from January to July 2009). The population incorporated 355 pre-school children.
We found that educators believe that using ICT in pre-school is very important and use them with children. Most respondents have a computer in the room and use it in their daily activities with children. Training supplied by pre-schools is very scarce, however teachers have bet on self-training which demonstrates that they are interested and applied to learning on how to better use a computer.
Data shows that the favorite activities with computers are Interactive CD-ROM's (i.e. storytelling and simple games), MS Paint™ and MS Word™. Educators reported noticeable changes in children after including the use of the computer in their daily activities, such as: cognitive development, motor development, collaboration among peers and socialization. In addition to use with children, pre-school teachers state that the computer is also a tool to support other activities such as planning, attend MOODLE platforms and communicating with parents.
Pre-school has been gradually grasping the idea that the integration and appropriation of technologies by children is a path of no return.
Our research data shows that ICTs are increasingly becoming an important tool and integral part of the educators job and professional culture. ICT's achieve this importance by providing alternative opportunities for creative expression, projects and critical reflection. We need to encourage debate and evaluation of the issue on how to teach and integrate these tools. Advantages must be quantified and presented as added value teaching tools for pre-schools.
Early Childhood Education, Children, ICT, Computer, Learning.