Digital citizenship and the need to integrate it into today's school curriculum

The inception of technology has made teaching and learning a lot easier for both teachers and students. Today, there are different teaching tools that Early Childhood Educators can use to create and carry out lesson plans that will engage and stimulate early learners. 

These teaching resources include videos, websites, apps, ebooks, and audio. Teachers can enrich classroom content with artistic creations, visual images, and audio elements. Software technology also makes these resources available on a wide range of platforms and devices. Lesson plans, teaching kits, and other modules can improve the classroom experience and engage learners at every stage of their early childhood development. Here are some digital resources for Early Childhood Educators.

Note: Some of these digital resources also enable parents’ participation in school activities.

Digital Learning Resources for ECEs

  • Interactive Websites

There are many engaging websites for early childhood educators that reinforce key academic concepts. These self-directed sites require little or no teacher assistance and will keep children actively engaged both at school and home.

Examples

This website offers resources for early learners, such as games and activities that stimulate learning and help organize classroom activities. The platform uses the expertise of award-winning teachers to provide advice, tips, and strategies for effective learning at all stages of childhood. 

This site is an open marketplace for educators to buy, sell, and share original teaching (both free and paid) resources. The section on Elementary School Resources includes searchable categories for subjects and grades.

  • Educational Apps 

Amongst other useful digital resources for Early childhood educators are educational apps. Some schools provide iPad for teachers and students for use in the classroom, while other schools have a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy. Whichever is the case, bringing iPads into the classroom is an excellent way to generate excitement about learning. Remember to consider the age group of students, grade level, and subject matter while choosing an educational app. 

Examples:

  • ClassDojo

ClassDojo is a software system that uses digital formats to record and present voice, visual, and share other information in networks of teachers, students, and parents. The software can connect everyone involved in a successful educational experience in a single format with convenient controls on a wide range of devices. ClassDojo also works with smartphones, tablets, and computers. This app is helpful for teachers who manage more than one group of children.

  • Pinterest

This is an online research platform that has useful categories for Early Childhood Educators. Whether searching for visuals to demonstrate themes or artistic creations, ECE can use Pinterest boards. Teachers can also create boards or use the existing early childhood resources on Pinterest for Teaching Preschool and Early Childhood Education.

  • Educational Video Sites

With technology, teachers no longer need to search their school library’s archaic VHS or DVD collections when current educational videos are available online and easily accessible. BrainPOP Jr. and Discovery Education feature academic videos tailored to suit different learning objectives and specific age groups. 

 

Symbaloo is also a visual tool that teachers can use to gather and organize the most commonly used websites on their computer desktops as graphical tiles. This tool does not only help teachers manage their many excellent resources, but it can also help struggling readers to navigate the desktops on student computers.

More examples:

 

  • TeacherTube: This is a media site similar to YouTube that enables teachers to share instructional materials such as videos, audio recordings, and photographs. 

 

  • SafeShare.TV is a student-friendly filter that removes the offensive elements surrounding YouTube clips.

Online ECE Organizations

Early Childhood Educators can join online organizations/communities of educators who are passionate about their jobs. If you want to share your passion for early childhood education, these professional early childhood education associations can help. These organizations can also help you find volunteer opportunities in the field. Besides offering networking opportunities, they can also help you stay current on the latest developments in the industry. Ultimately, becoming involved in these associations can help you further your career goals.

Note: Any educator from anywhere in the world can join these organizations.

Examples:

  • National Association for the Education of Young Children
  • Association for Childhood Education International
  • Council for Exceptional Children
  • National Association for Family Child Care

    Collaborative Resources

Another digital resource for early childhood education is collaborative apps that foster communication with other schools, districts, states, and countries. With Skype, children can hold video chats with other students over the Internet. Edmodo is also a social platform that connects classes to enable them share materials and access information easily and safely. ePals Global Community connects over half a million classrooms around the world. While students can still benefit from writing with a pen to their pals, these sites offer a level of connection deeper than what the written word can convey.

  1. eBooks 

In addition to the quality texts that schools provide, teachers can take advantage of the many sites featuring popular kids’ books online, such as Disney Digital Books, TumbleBooks, and We Give Books. 

  • Virtual Timers

Another digital resource for ECE is a virtual timer. A virtual timer helps teachers and students develop accountability and assists students in self-regulation and completing their work. Online Stopwatch offers a range of teacher timers, clocks, and countdowns for display on the computer screen and/or interactive whiteboard. Examples: Tick Tock Timer, Egg Timer, and other options for tracking time.

 

Conclusion

To get the most from technology and sustain the attention of young children, it is important to avoid technical difficulties and to have a solid understanding of the functions and features of technology before making use of it. Think deeply about how each tool may enhance your students’ abilities to reach their personal goals. As an early childhood educator, you must embrace the technology that shapes our world. And to develop life-long learners in our classrooms, teachers must be life-long learners as well.

Some Useful Digital Learning Resources for Early Childhood Educators

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