Exploring Digital Documentation of Children’s Development
The presence of digital technology in early childhood classrooms has grown steadily. The number and quality of presentations and papers concerned with the use of digital tools with young children at professional conferences is also on the rise. I recently attended a panel discussion on technology and young children at NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) that attracted hundreds of professionals. It is incredible to see this significant growth. In November 2006, NAECTE (National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators) created a Technology ResearchNet. The SITE 2006 annual conference featured several panel discussions that allowed early childhood educators to explore teaching with technology in a cross-disciplinary way.
“What can technology contribute to the development (cognitive, social, and emotional) of young children?” and “What are the problems in using educational technology in preschool and early grades?” are essential questions being addressed by many early childhood professionals and teacher educators.
Despite increasing research and interest in digital learning tools, many early childhood educators remain skeptical of technology’s value for young children. I find it interesting that there is one area where early childhood educators and parents seem to express universal agreement—that is, many people living/working with young children appreciate the power of digital tools for observing, documenting and assessing children’s’ development and learning. In today’s environment of NCLB documenting children’s learning- that is, carefully collecting, analyzing, interpreting and displaying evidence of learning, is a valuable skill. Digital tools offer important opportunities for documenting young children’s learning. As a result, many early childhood educators are embracing digital tools to capture and reflect on important first-hand learning experiences.
Whether you support the use of technology with young children or are skeptical about its value, feel free to use this forum to discuss challenges and successes with digital documentation tools or other thoughts related to the use of technology with young children.