TEACHING NATURAL SCIENCE WITH INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES IN EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION

A. Spai, M. Sfyroera

National Kapodistrian University of Athens (GREECE)
Nowadays it can be argued that Information and Communication Technologies are widely used at all levels of education. In the Greek educational system the ICT implementation starts from the early childhood, as proposed by the New Curriculum of the Greek Ministry of Education, named: “Digital School”.
As Marc Prensky (2001) has claimed, today’s children are thought to be “digital natives”, as they were born and keep growing up, in a society where the digital media hold a significant and increasing role. In this paper, our purpose is to present an educational intervention that aimed to approach a learning method in the field of the use of ICT inside the classroom. This approach was planned on the notion that children would be activated effectively in a process in which the acquisition of the new knowledge would be the result of an active cooperative construction.
This intervention was carried out as part of the thesis research conducted for the Postgraduate Program entitled: “ICT for Education”, of the University of Athens. It refers to the teaching of natural sciences and specifically to the phenomena of the melting and freezing of matter, through educational activities of experiential learning. More specifically we adopted the enactive (sensori-motor) and the symbolic representation of knowledge, as suggested by Jerome Bruner (1966).
The intervention took place in a kindergarten class and thirteen children -seven boys and six girls- at the age of six, participated. During the project the children formed two separate groups. The first conducted real time experiments on the melting and the freezing of common materials, while the second one approached the same phenomena through appropriately designed educational software (Alice Carnegie Mellon, Game Maker, FossWeb online science game).