Exploring East Coast Forests and Nature with Children

Personal Learning Goals

When people talk about children and technology, especially in the early childhood classroom I automatically start to feel uncomfortable. I have always been very certain about my position – there is no room for it. Over the past year, I have started to question my own firm stance on technology in the ECE classroom.

I began to reflect on the digital world’s children are growing up in. I have heard people tell me stories about their infants/young toddlers picking up their phones or tablets and navigating functions and applications as if they had always known how to use them. We know that children learn a lot through observation, and technology use (for many children) is constantly being modeled within the home and in greater society. Children are coming into my classroom with knowledge and interest in technologies, and they are leaving my classroom and engaging with these devices, or at least will at some point in their lives.

I work primarily outside with children (Little Nest Nature Preschool & Cloudberry Forest School ).

Problem solving, teamwork, time and patience: Finding a way across the muddy water.

Technology use is almost non-existent however they do use camera to document, voice recorders sometimes, and from time to time we use my phone to do some research. I like to think that in such a technology rich society, it’s nice to show children all the adventures that can have in real life and in nature. I like to think they are learning a lot of important skills for life (not just how to build a fire or identify plants but how to problem solve, how to communicate with others, how to regulate etc.). However, I am starting to wonder if by “ignoring” technology if I am missing out on teaching or modeling skills to critically think about technology and digital devices.

I won’t deny it, these devices are a big part of our society, and will most likely continue to be so. Is there a place for them in the early years ? Should I develop a digital pedagogy ? What is developmentally appropriate technology use ? At the very least, I want to learn more so I can share the research with families.

Two other questions I have been thinking a lot about is how can I teach/model technological skills (i.e coding etc.) without using digital devices ? and how can childcare centres integrate technology in the classroom that is environmentally sustainable ?

I have a lot of questions at this point and am going to try and narrow these down to one focus question. The next few blogs will be my journey made up of articles, videos, and other resources I find along the way. To narrow it down, my aim is to begin developing a digital pedagogy. My plan is to:

  • Read about digital pedagogies in the early years
  • Read about developmentally appropriate technology use (primarily with children pre-kindergarten)
  • Look into how supposedly “important” technology skills can be taught/modeled/acquired without digital devices
  • Look into how technology can be integrated into the classroom in a way that is sustainable and mindful of effects on the environment (the longevity of devices, and if and how they are recycled).

If anyone has any articles, videos, blog posts, podcasts etc. that you think would inform my quest for answers or even want to share your own thoughts, please share!


1 Comment

  1. idanis12

    You may find it that the almost non-existent technology, as you described in your post “camera to document, voice recorders sometimes, and from time to time we use my phone to do some research” are the very beginning of your journey to reflect on the learning that take place in your practice. There is never a one way of looking at things, so I wonder what we find if we think about certain moments, such as the moments when the camera, the voice recorder or your phone is being pulled out in the forest? What if we look at and listen to the stories through the lenses of the camera, or the operational ways of the voice recorder? For example, what came to focus and what diminished with the act of zooming in on one particular (tiny in a sense) part of the forest? What if we think about the agencies of those items? While you (not just you, but in general) tend to see these technologies as almost non-existent, these are the technologies that you are comfortable with, I am guessing. What technologies’ agency you connect with or reject?
    In her work, Barad reconfigure concepts like matter, agency, with regard to their effects on ecocriticism and in terms of their ethical perspectives. “Agency is not an attribute but the ongoing reconfigurings of the world.” (Barad 2003: 818 )

    Suchman, L. (2009, March). Agencies in technology design: Feminist reconfigurations. In Proceedings of 5th European Symposium on Gender & ICT, Digital Cultures: Participation–Empowerment–Diversity.

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