About Digital teaching materials
Screen for a Child – a Learning Tool, not a Babysitter
Anette Slotnes Andersen, Pedagogical Leader at the Norwegian Preschool “Læringsverkstedet Bjørnsrud Skog”
Today, there is widespread discussion about integrating technology into the learning process and how to promote children’s and young people’s understanding of meaningful technology use. At the same time, it is clear that technology is here to stay in our lives, including the educational process, from preschool to the highest levels of education. However, it is up to us how we utilize technology – whether it becomes a way to keep children quiet and not disturb adults or a tool for learning, exploring the world, and acquiring new knowledge and skills in an interesting and adventurous way.
Balancing Technology and Books
It is no secret that in the pre-technology era in which many of us grew up, it was much easier to engage our imagination – toys were simple, and to make them “come alive” and “converse with us,” we had to unleash our imagination. Nowadays, when many toys are based on technology and even artificial intelligence, they already fulfil a significant part of children’s imagination and do not encourage them to “activate” their own imagination. With dolls that are almost like real people, robot dogs, and other technological wonders, a book may seem boring to a child. Especially considering that children who are currently in preschool or the youngest grades of school have not experienced a gradual development of technology but were born into an era where technology plays a growing role in almost every aspect of life. Ideally, a child’s life should include both technology, under the condition that it is used meaningfully, and books, allowing them to enjoy the experience of picking up a new book, flipping through its pages, and visualizing the content through colourful illustrations.
Technology in Education Doesn’t Mean a Computer for Every Child
Technology offers a range of advantages and, when used correctly, can creatively enhance knowledge and skill acquisition. However, this does not mean that every child in preschool should be handed a tablet and allowed to freely use it. If there is a computer and a projector as tools in one preschool group, and teachers have ideas on how to utilize them, children will find learning interesting, while teachers can save time on preparing teaching materials for the respective topic. Through various creative tasks, videos, and images, almost any subject – nature, art, musical instruments, clothing, numbers, letters, and much more – can be learned.
Changing Habits and Understanding Nature
In Norwegian preschools, teaching materials created in Latvia are currently being used. These materials were developed by the private preschool “CreaKids” and are available on the innovative resource website www.hapykids.lv. The website offers 9 sets of teaching materials, each with 10 tasks, and experience shows that children enthusiastically engage in completing digital content tasks. Digital teaching materials also help in forming new habits, promoting understanding of environmental protection, and fostering a child’s emotional well-being. They also contribute to children’s understanding of digital hygiene and cybersecurity.
Screen Time and Outdoor Walks
Of course, it is important to remember that not all activities throughout the day should involve screens. It is crucial to include outdoor games, walks that integrate various tasks, songs, dances, various physical activities, and also time when children can freely choose games and play. Not every minute of a child’s daily routine needs to be planned because it is precisely in those moments when we seemingly feel bored that we allow our imagination and creativity to flourish.