Early Childhood and Technology Hub
The Teaching our Digital Kids Hub – 2008 tp 2010 - was aimed at exploring innovative practices in the use of technology, for early childhood educators. The Hub provided a professional learning opportunity, involving 5 days over 12 months, where participants explored hands-on strategies, designed to integrate technology into a play-based curriculum, as well as strategies for emergent readers and writers.
Participants did not need any prior knowledge of computers, just an interest in exploring ways of utilising technology to motivate and challenge students in all aspects of the curriculum. The program was suitable for teachers of students from four to eight years old, and was based on our previously successful program KidSmart, which has been running since 2000.
The KidSmart Project
The global IBM Early Childhood KidSmart program is a core component of IBM Australia’s community investment strategy and has been proudly supported by the Australian National Schools Network (ANSN). The reflective stories of 10 centres across the nation have been selected to capture the essence and diversity of the program that was designed to help bridge the technological gap for disadvantaged and rural communities. The main objective of the program has been to help make technology integral to learning by supporting early childhood educators, through the provision of child friendly furniture, an up to date computer, educational software, a printer and professional development, to effectively use new technologies in their teaching and learning programs. Since the program began in Australia in 2001 to mid 2007 IBM Australia has donated over 640 KidSmart units to school, kindergartens and childcare centres.
Participants in the project committed to work in professional learning communities for a 12 month period, where they were continually challenged to reflect, explore, innovate and implement strategies for technology integration for all young learners, regardless of their culture, academic ability or previous exposure to technology.
Through the stories of our KidSmart teachers, we hope other educators will be inspired to continue on the journey of technology integration. As new technologies are being made available, our thinking on how to engage and teach students will also be continually challenged. Regardless of innovations, we need to keep in mind that true integration gives purpose to the technology; it should never be just about the technology itself. Technology in the classroom has the potential to go beyond being a tool for aiding learning, to creating a powerful environment for engaging and connecting our learners to essential skills and knowledge, so they may explore the world in which they live.
Buy the Teaching our digital kids book by Hanan Harrison
Download the Kidsmart Snapshots below