Thursday, 29 September 2011

Final Reflective Blog Post

Technology is an amazing thing. Duffy and Bruns (2006) demonstrated that technologies like blogs promote desirable practices such as collaborative content creation and reflection of learning experiences, and enable peer and formative evaluation to take place. Through this group project, I not only learned technological skills on how to create a blog, post a reflection, make a comment and build a hyper-link, but also gained a deep understanding and knowledge about the significance of use of technology on children’s learning and development.
Blogging my group member’s reflections enabled me to gain various strategies and techniques on how to incorporate different technologies into early childcare. Making comments on their reflections stimulated me to do more readings on the relevant topics and made me more thoughtful about my own teaching experience. Reading other members’ comments on my reflections, I feel very encouraged and motivated to use more ICT in my teaching practice.
From Emma’s feedback on my first reflection, I feel very pleased with her comment that this situation sounds like a good way to create a home to centre familiarity through the use of technology. I am proud of myself to have provided child B with a learning environment which reflected the setting and activities of his home (Ministry of Education, 1996), and nurtured his emotional well-being with a sense of belonging. It is more appreciated that she gave me constructive suggestions to extend B’s learning by involve emailing, printing, downloading onto a computer with many more various technological tools. From Luahine’s comments on this reflection, I realized that I have the responsibility to help push implementing ICT in my home centre. I also value Melissa’s suggestion of giving the children day to day access to a camera solely for them as it will allow the children to revisit their experiences. It is a great way to help build on their cognitive skills.
From Emma, Luahine and Melissa’s comments on my second reflection the spray bottle, I learned that technology is everywhere, and we can use provoking questions to promote children’s thinking to use technology to help them solve problems, and enhance cognitive skills. Technology has endless possibilities to enhance children’s learning. What a creative idea to do spray art with a spray bottle by putting dye in it! I believe that our perspectives on technology have great influences on our teaching.
From Faa’s comments about using ICT, I believe that her concern about children’s health and safety is necessary. However, I think the advantages of using ICT outweigh the disadvantages when it is appropriately used in early childcare settings. Through this blogging platform, I become very sensitive in teaching children with technology. Last Tuesday, a two-year-boy was playing water. He wanted to get the plastic bottle in the middle of the tank, but it was beyond his reach. He pointed at the bottle to show me he needed my help. Why not use technology? I gave him a big spoon instead of passing the bottle to him. He successfully got it with this simple technology.
I’m sure I will learn more than the above from my group member’s comments as I haven’t got all the comments from them. As we have six members in our group, I made three comments on each of the two members’ reflection. I didn’t want anyone to feel isolated in the group. So I made two comments on each of the other three members.
Through the class discussions, course readings and blogging, I believe that the significance of use of technology is great on children’s learning and development. When used appropriately, technology can enhance children’s cognitive and social skills. Digital or electronic technologies offer opportunities to extend children’s learning in much the same way as other learning resources such as puzzles, blocks and art materials. They can also help improve children’s numeracy and literacy competency through playful activities or games which make their learning simpler and easier. Technology tools can greatly improve the documentation of children’s learning and development. Photographs and audio and video recordings have made it possible to document, archive, and share a child’s accomplishments. All these can help teachers improve the quality of the programs they offer young children.
Technology supports inclusive practices in early childhood centers with assistive technology that allow children with disabilities equitable access to participate more fully in the early childhood setting (Behrmann, 2010). These technologies can empower young children to increase their independence and support their inclusion in interaction with their peers. With use of appropriately designed technology, teachers can increase the chance that children with special needs will have the ability to learn, move, communicate, and create.
Technology promotes positive partnership with parents and family. Communication and social media tools can be used to share a child’s developmental progress and communicate with parents and families. With technology becoming more and more common as a means of communicating with one another, early childhood teachers can use technological media tools to keep in touch with families such as blog, e-mail, telephone or cell phone. Parents feel more connected their child while they are away. In the same way, teachers can get information about children at home so that they can work out plans that meet the individual needs of children’s learning and development.

Behrmann, M. (2010). Assistive technology for young children in special education: It makes a difference. Retrieved from
Duffy, P. & Bruns, A. (2006). The use of blogs, wikis and RSS in education: A conversation of possibilities. In Proceedings Online Learning and Teaching Conference 2006, pp.31-38. Brisbane, Australia.
Ministry of Education. (1996). Te Whāriki: He whāriki mātauranga mo nga mokopuna o Aotearoa .Wellington, New Zealand: Learning Media.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Reflection Two: Integrating Technology into Young Children’s Learning

Date:29 August, 2011
It was a sunny morning. Child S’ shouting “it’s raining” caught my attention. He was making rain with a spry bottle. In the gardening area, child K, N and R were spraying the plants while they were having a conversation about which plant needed more water. Another two young children Ka and F were washing the wheels of a bike with their spray bottles. When I approached to them, Ka said her spray bottle didn’t work. I asked her to find the reason why it didn’t work by guiding her to examine the straw in her bottle and that in F’s bottle. She soon found that her straw was not in the water when she sprayed. So she set her bottle up straight and triggered a few times but still it didn’t spray. She hardly gave up and I told her to keep going till spray came out. However she challenged me with a question why she had to trigger so many times before spray came out. To answer her question, I emptied the straw and showed her how much water one trigger could suck up water in the straw. She seemed very happy to understand how to make a spray bottle work properly. 

“Technology is about helping people and solving problems” (Smorti, 1999, p.5). A spray bottle is associated with technology as it is a technological product. From the above learning experience with the spray bottles, there was evidence that the children used the same technological tool for different purposes as they explore their world (Ministry of Education, 1996). Different learning outcomes were brought up according to their individual ways of playing. Child S developed creative and imaginative skills when he associated spraying in the air with raining. Child K, N and R’s social skills were fostered as they were working together, talking about and showing empathy for the plants while watering with their spray bottles. Child Ka developed capability in solving practical problems which contributed to self-confidence and well-being.

Technology can enhance early childhood practice when integrated into the environment, curriculum, and daily routines. Good pedagogy and sound learning objectives should guide the choice of materials and tools, including technology, to be used in learning activities (Bredekamp & Rosegrant, 1994). As a teacher of very young children, I feel it very important to work out teaching strategies about appropriately implementing technology in our daily practice to meet the social, physical, and cognitive needs of young children.

Before taking the course, my understanding of technology was very narrow and limited only to electronic and digital resources. From the class discussion and readings about technology, my perspectives on technology changed and now I feel that technological materials and resources are helping us teachers and children as well in our daily teaching and learning. However, I think intentional, appropriate, and integrated use of technology with young children depends on the ability, knowledge, and skills of teachers.  I also agree with the statement that “our understanding of the scientific principles supporting technology was limiting our ability to scaffold children’s learning in this area” (Smorti, 1999, p.7) because technology is continuously evolving. Therefor as early childhood teachers, we need to be life-long learner so as to become active participants and competent users of technology for personal and professional growth (National Association for the Education of Young Children, 2001). Only in this way can we model and support appropriate and effective use of technology in learning environments for children.


Bredekamp, S. & Rosegrant, T. (1994). Learning and teaching with technology. Young Children: Active Learners in a Technological Age. pp. 53-61.
Ministry of Education. (1996). Te Whāriki: He whāriki mātauranga mo nga mokopuna o Aotearoa .Wellington: Learning Media.
National Association for the Education of Young Children. (2001).Technology and young children. Retrieved from
Smorti, S. (1999) Technology in early childhood. Early Education, Autumn(19), pp.5-9.

Refelction Three: Computer Games Enhance Children’s Learning

Date:13 September

                                                     (Taken from google image)
It was a rainy morning. Two young children J and M were sitting in front of the computer with teacher L, who was showing them how to play a computer game “Apple Break”. Child J was eager to take the mouse from teacher L before she could finish. It seemed that he took it very seriously fixing his eyes on the falling apple but his mouse couldn’t catch the apple. Only the apple crash could be heard one after another. Suddenly J caught a falling apple with a quick click. Both the two boys were very excited at seeing the big sign of “1” on the screen and hearing the pronunciation of one.

When I first noticed that teacher L was showing the two very young boys how to play the game, I thought it was impossible for two-year-old children to catch a falling apple with a mouse. However I had observed something that I felt impossible happened. Reflecting what I observed today, I need to re-shape my images of young children as competent learners in using Information and Communication technology (ICT). Playing the game “Apple Break”, Child J developed dispositions to learn (Plowman, 2006) by showing initiative, perseverance, and enterprise. He also gained manipulative control and skill in using the mouse (Ministry of Education, 1996). Seeing the sign “1” on the screen and hearing its pronunciation helped to develop the children's  mathematical learning and understandings. This idea is supported by Yelland’s (2002) research in which the data revealed that mathematical understandings could be promoted and practiced in computer games.

In today’s fast developing technology, ICT plays an increasingly important role in the daily lives of both adults and children. The present generation of children is engaging with technology at a younger and younger age. Hence, they become very competent ICT users at a very early age. Bolstad (2004) demonstrated that the potential of ICT to enhance children’s learning has been recognized and many early childhood programmers now include using ICT with children.

I think it is crucially important to for early childcare teachers to be competent ICT users so that they can effectively implement ICT in their practice. This viewpoint is reflected in the ten year strategic plan formed by the Ministry of Education for early childhood education in New Zealand (Ministry of Education, 2002), that outlines confident ICT use by early childhood teachers as one of the goals to be reached by 2012.

From what I have observed today, I believe that the computer game offered the children opportunities to extend their learning in at least the same way as other materials if not better  because it is visual and audio, and more importantly  playful.  The use of computers and technology in early childhood education has grown each year, and will continue for the foreseeable future. However, issues of access and the need for computer literacy for early childhood teachers  will remain as significant barriers for many early childhood professionals. I appreciate Donohue's (2003) statement that as a field in which we have an opportunity to implement  new technology tools in our practice to make a real difference for the young children, we should work together with parents and families/whaanau  to overcome these barriers, and share our best practices with one another. 


Bolstad, R. (2004).  The role and potential of ICT in early childhood education: A review of New Zealand and international literature. Wellington: Ministry of Education.
Donohue, C. (2003). Technology in early childhood education. Child Care Information Exchange. November/December, pp.17-20
Plowman, L. (2006). Supporting learning with ICT in pre-school settings. Retrieved from 
Yelland, N. J. (2002). Playing with Ideas and games in early mathematics. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood. 3(2). 195-215.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Reflection One: ICT Promotes Young Children's Learning

Date: 22 August, 2011

This afternoon I was taking photos of some children playing on the jumping box when three-year-old boy B jumped down and asked me if he could see the pictures. After viewing the photos, he asked “can I take a photo of my brother?” while I was hesitating, he pleaded with “please!” “Ok, let me show you…” Before I finished, he took the camera and said “I know how to use it”. He skillfully put the band on his wrist, then raised the camera, carefully focused his brother on the screen and clicked swiftly. “One more” he said and took another. He then pressed the view button and showed me the two photos. Reflecting this learning experience, I was very surprised with B’s competence for using the camera because I did not think a three-year-old child knew how to use a camera properly. I often say that I value children as capable and competent learners. Obviously today, I under-estimated B’s ability of using technology.
As a professional early childcare educator, I need to re-shape my images of children about the use of technology. In this dynamic society with advanced technology, most young children are growing up in media-rich digital environment that permeates their lives and influences their understanding of the world. From my conversation with B, I knew that his confidence in the use of a digital camera was built up at home. To reflect this, I felt that there was a big gap between children’s access to and use of new technologies at home and in the childcare centre. For example, in my centre, children are not allowed to use or touch the centre’s camera. Some preschool children often ask to use my personal camera to take photos. And I think, if supervised or guided properly, they will experience “enhanced learning opportunities through the meaningful use of ICT” (Ministry of Education, 2007, p.2).
According to Aubrey and Dahl (2008), technology can contribute to developing children’s dispositions to learning, extending their knowledge and understanding of the world and acquiring operational skills. Similar ideas can be seen in Plowman and Stephen’s statement that technology enhances children’s learning and development not only “for operational skills but also for less measurable positive dispositions towards learning such as persistence, engagement and pleasure” (2006, p.9).
As a professional early childcare educator, I feel that it is very important to incorporate information and communication technology into my practice. With what I have learned from the course and readings, I understand “how modern technologies can help us better meet the social, physical, and learning needs of young children” (Tsantis, Bewick & Thouvenelle, 2003, p.8) so that they can become capable and competent users of ICT (Ministry of Education, 1996).

Aubrey, C. & Dahl, S. (2008). A review of the evidence on the use of ICT in the early years foundation stage. Retrieved from
Ministry of Education. (2007). Kei tua o te pae: Assessment for learning: Early childhood exemplars (Booklet 20). Wellington: Learning Media.
Ministry of Education. (1996). Te Whāriki: He whāriki mātauranga mo nga mokopuna o Aotearoa .Wellington: Learning Media.
Plowman, L. & Stephen, C. (2006). Technologies and learning in pre-school education. Paper presented at AERA annual meeting, Education Research in the Public Interest, April 2006, San Francisco, CA.
Tsantis, L. A., Bewick, C. J., & Thouvenelle, S. (2003).  Examining some common about computer use in the early years. Young Children. Vol 58 (1), pp. 1-9.