Do we agree? Yes - We absolutely do!
The benefits go deeper than just a cursory attempt at facilitate children a head start at developing key future employability skills…Digital media opens children’s learning up to a whole world of information and people, breaking down barriers of distance or culture and allows children to creatively and more easily explore their own learning threads. Children can engage in the learning through a wide range of tools (camera’s, internet, music, recorded sounds, video etc). They can (either by themselves or with guided assistance from their teachers) record and summarize their own learning in ways that reinforce the construction of their own theories, allow them to share their learning with others and take pride in a visually engaging production. The social aspect of digital exploration also cannot be understated…teachers, parents, children can open themselves up to local, regional or even international communities in amazing new ways… everyone can get involved in the learning that is occurring!
Here’s some ways we suggest you can use digital media in your classroom.
Invest in a computer – It won’t cost you as much as you think! Here are a few ideas to get you started!
- Buy a refurbished computer – they cost nothing and practically do everything you’ll ever need for your classroom!
- Ask people to donate their old computers – parents, local businesses may give you whole computers or parts for free, so it’s well worth asking.
- Check out the auction houses…there are so many around the world. In Australia, we’ve often used with great success www.graysonline.com.au – you can practically buy anything you can think of from them at a quarter of the retail prices and they also sell new which is well worth a look in.
Buy a camera and a colour printer
Take photos and allow children to take photos of what interests them, what they see and what they are learning. It is always so surprising when you sit back and see what has occurred and it inspires both the children, teachers, families and others seeing the learning to think of new ideas, discussions and ways to further extend on the child’s understanding. Have a go at writing a learning story (we’ll write a blog on how to do this soon!). Print up your photos and display them with your artwork! Capture amazing moments of creativity and expression that create story with your displays. Email your parents or add photos to a shared web album like Google’s Picasa.
- Start a blog and document your learning and photos. You can create blogs using Wordpress and Google’s blogger with closed communities.
Revive the old TV and video.
Other Digital Media ideas you may not have thought of!
- For those of you a little more computer savvy, make a video of your class! You would be amazed how much everyone (children, parents, teachers) love seeing themselves learn, play teach and interact!
- Use an old (or new if you can!) Overhead projector – show children’s drawing, pictures and artwork. I love creating silhouettes of children.
- Use Stop watches to extend or change an activity – children can quickly adapt new ideas such as time and consequences. Count down time, run races, challenge children in simple activities etc.
- IPods – Buy e books or download stories online. I recommend teachers go to ITUNESU or Podcasts as there are so many free preschool stories available for download.
- Use your phones – record voice, audio, take photos or video easily on most smart phones.