Tots ICT Ann Hatherly ICT and the greatest technology the teachers mind

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Ann argues it is not the hardware or the software that matters but how the teachers use it.Technology- visually appealing, cutting edge of innovation, no longer regarded as a luxury, HOWEVER the greatest technology in any classroom is the TEACHERS MIND!.

Text of Tots ICT Ann Hatherly ICT and the greatest technology the teachers mind

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Introduction and background

There have been many debates

in

the

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As the integration of ICTcommonplaceed u catio n it is tim

becomes

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childhood

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to ref lect on the ways

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(tCT) is cottuttrtrrptlaca. ICTis nlrendq Ttnrt o.f cltiltiratt's/iz'e-s;

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that these tools are being used. In 2005, the New Zealand Ministry of Education published Foundotions for Discovery, a framework aimed at promoting the use of ICT as a tool to strengthen the education of young children. As part of this initiative, the Ministry of Education tendered a professional developmentcontract to C0RE Education in 2006. This pilot programme, known as the Ea'ly

literature about the appropriateness of using ICT in early childhood contexts (Alliance for Childhood, 2004; Brown, 2006; Edwards, Gandini & Forman,'1998; Stephen ft Plowman, 2003). However research that focuses specifically on

infants and young toddlers and

ICT

is

scarce. The teachers

at Tots Corner

believe that the instantaneity and highly visual nature of ICT captivates infants and young toddlers and has the potentia

to be a powerful tool for learning. Though

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Childhood Education Information andsV

they are acutely aware of the literature and critique of ICT use, the teachers atTots Corner believe that the way that they

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Communication Technology Professional Learning programme (ECE ICT PL), has 60 early childhood services participating nationally. These include educatlon and care centres, kinderqartens, playcentres and one hospital-based service. A group

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are using ICT is of substantial benefit to

the children in their care, and welcome

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opportunities to share their actions and the findings of their research sofar. They are very careful not to let the ICT diminish in any way the amount of hands-on experiential learning which is so important for young children. Those children who show a particular curiosity to learn and explore through the ICT tools, have the opportunitV to use the digital camera with the teachers, but these are generally not available in the play area for the children to freely access.The teachers are focusing their research

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facilitators works with the early

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Mirrist n1 of Educnt iorr,

2004). This nrticle looks ntIrortr otrc busq, .firll-d nq irtfntr t

childhood centre teams who are each engaged in action research aimed at improving teaching and learning with, and through lCT. Some of the teachers involved are focusing their research on infants and toddlers in particular. TotsCorner, where Hanna is teaching, is one such centre in theECE ICT PL

programme,

and where Linda is the facilitator. The teaching team in the babies' room at Tots Corner consists of three teachers working with infants and young toddlers

artd toddlcru1t tltc

ce

tttre is tnkirtg

tlnllttr,gc lo ittttgrntt ICT cuuqdny in tlutir

around creating and sharing documentation of children's learning experiences

with children, parents and families.

from slx months to two years old.

The Hanna'. Weore in oursecondyeorof ourECE ICT PL

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centre is licensed for ten children a day, who generally attend three to five days a week. As the research progresses it

project investigoting woysWe

thot we con enrich our pedogogicoldocumentotion through lCT.believe thot pedogogicol docu mento-

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is expected that new knowledge about the effective use of ICT to strengthen teaching and learning will emerge. Theteachers have been keen to explore the

tion of infonts' ond young toddlers'experiences

is

documentotion thot

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ps

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notion

of infants and young

toddlers

informs further our teoching proctice, reseorch, relotionships

(up to the age of two years old) as active

ond leorning

participants in this process.

both ot the centre ond beyond.

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The First Years: Nga Tau Tuatahi. New Zealand ]ourna of lnfant and Toddler Education. Volume 10, lssue 2, 2008

The teachers view documentation as a reflective tool, central for their meaning making, and have taken the responsibility

tion. The teachers at Tots Corner are aware

another opportunity for parents/families to engage with their child's learning. Theycan read, think, reflect, interpret, share and

that there are always multiple perspectlvesfor looking at, analysing and understandinga child's perspective and then responding in

for making meaning of children's actionsand coming to their own decisions andinterpreting what is happening. They focus

question.

an appropriate way.

on children's strategies of learning

and

As part of their actionhave investigated the use

research, the

Hanna: We use email os onothermeons of communicotion. AII leorning stories ore emoiled to fomilies, giving

meaning making as well as deciding how they can challenge the child's learning. Theteachers acknowledge that there is always

teachers in the infant room at Tots Corner

of photographs of the

to enable teachers and parents/whanau toreflect together on the perspective

tension with pedagogical documentationbeing a tool to assist organisation and atthe same time being flexible enough to shift

them on opportunity to contribute to their child's Leorning Story with

child. Listening, observing, documenting and interpreting are the key elements ofthe process.

o'porent/fomily response' withoutexpectation or judgment. As teocherswe g0in 0nother perspective

direction

if

something different evolves & Robertson, 2006).

into their

(Fleet, Patterson

child's leorning through their contri-

EmailThe use

bution. Shoring the Leorning Storiesond photogrophs creofes insight into

of ICT for teaching and learning has been a journey that began at Tots

The Tots Corner

Corner long before the centre becameinvolved with the ECE ICT PL programme.However, being part of this project has set

community has embraced communication through email. This has become a popular and convenient way

the

lens

of

the child os there is on

opportunity for teochers ond porentsto shore their understondings through

of communicating between teachersparents/families. As all familiesCorner have email access either

and Tots

out new pathways to deepen the learning

at

listening ond communicoting witheoch other.

for teachers and children using lCl Their approach has not been so much aboutintroducing newICT

at work

equipment, as looking

more closely at how they use the resources

or at home, teachers use this as another means of sharing information with them. The teachers email all learning storieshome along with the weekly newsletter and

The teachers value all responses received

that they already have, to maximize theteaching and learning potential.

by parents/families, especially when they realised that parent and family voices canbe critical voices.

photographs of interest. Sharing children's documentation through email provides

Definition of ICTGiven the rapid expansion oftechnology, the

Hanna: Recordrn g children's expeflences

definition of rangeused

ICT in

the

ECE ICT PL

Programme

through photogrophs hos ollowed us

is necessarily broad, encompassing the vast

to

revisit coptured moments ond goin

of electronic technologies that

are

forthecommunlcation of information.

onother perspective into children's leorning by listening with our eyes.Thot might sound like we hove mixed

meoning from their ploy. We spend consideroble time reflecting on the volidiLy of the interpretotions we moke from the photogrophs we toke. Whotexoctly is being photogrophed ond how?

These include computers including laptops,

Are we copturing through the lens theessence

the internet, blogs, wikis, digital still andvideo cameras, mobile telephones, printers,scanners, tablets, interactive whiteboards,

electronic toys, digital audio recordingdevices and digital microscopes

up our senses. Listening to us m