University of Aveiro (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN18 Proceedings
Publication year: 2018
Pages: 5089-5096
ISBN: 978-84-09-02709-5
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2018.1245
Conference name: 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2018
Location: Palma, Spain
Children in pre-school education may benefit from using tablet devices because of their portability and multi-touch interaction. Also, there is a variety of educational apps that expose children to different forms of knowledge (linguistic, logical, creative, artistic) and develop skills such as critical thinking, collaboration and creativity. Recent research shows positive effects of using tablets with pre-schoolers, associated with high motivation, improvements in language, communication and maths.This paper describes the use of educational apps by children in kindergarten for the creation of their self-portrait, with the intention of exposing them to digital activities and sharing results with parents on a communication platform. This is part of a wider research focused on the creation and use of a platform for parental involvement in kindergarten. At this stage, the research team is testing strategies to dynamize the platform, and verify what motivates parents to participate more actively. One possibility to experiment is the involvement of children in the dynamization of the platform, sharing their creations with parents. To test this possibility, children from one classroom attended a workshop where they created their self-portrait, with tablets and educational apps.

This article presents the self-portrait workshop - objectives, planning, selection of apps, realization of the workshop in four moments:
1) introduction to the theme self-portrait and brief demo of the apps;
2) creation of physical self-portrait on paper;
3) creation of physical self-portrait with a drawing app;
4) creation of a psychological self-portrait movie with an animation app.

Data was collected through direct observation of the children. Photos and research notes were used to document the workshop. Information was noted chronologically, associating children's age, description of apps’ usage, comments and interaction with other children. Results of children's digital activities were saved to the tablet. Content analysis was used to analyse data. The presentation of results includes considerations regarding the understanding and learning of the apps, the behaviour of children while using the apps, particularities of the work, children's preferences and familiarity with the device. After the workshop, movies and images were shared in the platform. Through observation of the content posted on the platform, interview with the educator and focus group with the parents, it was possible to evaluate the dynamization of the platform. It has led parents to participate actively, comment online, communicate with the educator about the activities and talk with children about their work. This study is essentially qualitative and descriptive, with data restricted to one classroom, which limits the generalization of knowledge, but contributes as a positive example of the use of technology in early childhood education with some interesting findings. The use of tablets and apps has encouraged children's interest and dedication in educational activities. It stimulated important skills, such as creativity, critical thinking, communication, collaboration and digital literacy. It also suggests that the main interest of parents in a communication platform is to access to their children's work and to get to know what they do during the day. To facilitate parental involvement, the dynamization of the platform should be centred in sharing children’s activities in kindergarten.
Educational apps, tablets in kindergarten, parental involvement.