What (or who) motivated you to start teaching?
I had always shown an interested in teaching under-fives while I was at school, so as part of work placement while I was at college I spent a week at an ECE centre.
I was then offered a job at the centre and I worked there for two years before studying and completing my Bachelor of Teaching at AUT University.
How do you use technology to teach the curriculum?
We currently use iPads as a way of supporting children to investigate and research their interests and also as a way to answer question that arise. This form of technology is also another way of including literacy in the classroom.
Through investigation and research the children are continually being exposed to the written word. One of the main ways we use technology is ePortfoilos of the children’s learning journey.
The children are then able to use the Storypark app to share their stories with their peers. This allows children to incorporate both technology and literacy into their daily lives.
It also encourages children to revisit past learning experiences and extend on their current skills and abilities.
What applications, websites, or other technology do you use in the classroom?
Apart from using Google and Wikipedia as research tools, we mainly use the Storypark application.
We use Storypark for the children’s ePortfolios, Storypark allows us to share observations, photos and videos with the children’s parents and whanau all around the world privately.
How has the use of technology improved learning (and teaching) in your classroom?
We have noticed a huge benefit because of the fact we are able to share observations, photos and videos with parents in real time.
Having the iPads in the classrooms means the children are able to be a part of writing the observations and we are able to add their voice right there and then.
The ePortfoilos also allow and encourage parents and whanau to share stories from home. We are also able to get parents’ aspirations for their children and can include these in the children’s individual learning journey.
Having the iPads in the classroom has not only built on the area of technology but also literacy. Children are able to share their digital stories with their peers and are able to make links between pictures and the written word.
What are the benefits of using technology with young children?
The benefit of using this form of technology in our classrooms is that we are able to document learning and development in real-time. We are also able to receive feedback and information from parents and whanau faster than we have in the past.
We can then plan for individual children with parents, whanau, teachers and children all getting a voice.
What are the negatives of using technology?
One of the negatives could be relying on technology as the only method of investigation and research, where it should be used as a support tool alongside books, as well as other resources like experienced and specialised people in our community.
Do you think technology will change the way ECE is taught in the future? How?
I believe technology is a huge part of children’s lives these days so it should be embraced and used in a positive and supportive way. Technology is a great tool that can be used to support children’s learning, it does not need to replace any current teaching practices but added as another resource tool available to both children and teachers.
I believe the world is constantly changing so we need to prepare children in the best way possible.