In beginning my exploration of resources connected to my topics in the previous assignment I was unsure of where I would end up. I focused in on the two themes I am most interested in at the moment: technology in early primary and core competency development in connection to digital literacies. I decided to begin my search with the UBC Library page and was able to find a variety of very interesting and relevant resources written by experts in the field from around the world. Upon further investigation I narrowed down my search in order to draw out four resources that I believe will prove helpful to myself, and anyone else interested in these areas of education.
We are so lucky to have databases such as that provided by UBC as they allow us to learn from one another no matter where in the world we are situated… this connectedness, made possible by technology, allows educators from around the world to move forward together in strengthening the educational experiences of our students, something that I find very exciting and empowering.
Technology in Early Primary
Young Children in a Digital Age (2016) is an exciting resource that includes writing and research from a variety of educators working in the field of early childhood education and technology. This collection, edited by Lorraine Kaye of Middlesex University in London, is intended to provide pedagogical reasoning and research supporting and justifying the use of technology in early years. Found in the introduction of this resource is, perhaps, the most critical piece that we must keep in mind as we consider the role of technology in our early primary classrooms in that it is essential that we provide even our youngest learners educational experiences that reflect “the world in which they operate” (Kaye, p. xiii). And there is no doubt that the world in which we currently operate in is one that is highly technological and it is, therefore, essential that we bring these skills into our classrooms in order to ensure we are educating students to live in the world as it is today… and as it might be once they graduate. While I feel this whole book could benefit my practice, the chapters that perhaps feel most relevant to me in terms of my current areas of interest include, Language acquisition in a digital age, Supporting children’s technological development: The role of the practitioner, and Personal and socio-economic development and technology.
Apps, Technology and Younger Learners: International Evidence for Teaching (2016) is another relevant resource in terms of technology and the early primary years. Like the previous resource, it is a compilation of articles written by a number of different educators in the field and, therefore, provides a larger breadth of information and research than if it had been written by one individual. This book looks at current practices while also taking a look into the future in terms of the direction(s) we may be headed with respect to technology in the early years. The preface of this book contains an important and interesting idea and it is encouraged that the reader keep this idea in mind while reading the resource. The idea comes from a book written by Lisa Guernsey entitled, Into the minds of babes: How screen time affects children from birth to age five (2007) and consists of the importance of taking into account the ‘3Cs’ – Context, Content, and the Individual Child – when evaluating technology usage and effects on children. This means that we should be paying careful attention to the context in which an app or a technology is being used, the content being taught or shown, and, so importantly, attention to the individual child and how a certain technology may affect him/her based on his/her own unique situation (including socio-economic factors, cultural considerations etc.) Editors Kucirkova and Falloon (2016) suggests that we also keep in mind the fourth C of Connectedness in terms of the fact that all 3Cs need to be taken into account in an “interlinked nature” (p. xviii) when considering the use of certain technological tools in the classroom.
Digital Literacy and the Core Competencies
What are the 4Cs? by Common Sense Education (2016) is a short video clip explaining the idea of the 4Cs (different from the 3Cs previously mentioned… seems like ‘C’ is the letter when it comes to digital literacies!) Creativity, Critical Thinking, Communication, and Collaboration are the 4Cs described with the idea that in order to teach our students to become digitally literate in terms of their use of technological tools in a safe, responsible, and productive manner then we must focus time strengthening these competencies in our students (Dowd, 2017). While these 4Cs may not be exactly the same as the new Core Competencies as outlined in the BC curriculum they are in essence, the same, except for one key aspect that I feel is left out of the 4Cs, that of Positive Personal and Cultural Awareness. Encouraging students to reflect on using technology in a way that aligns with their own values is important, just as we encourage students to collaborate and communicate with others. Using technology in the classroom allows for the teaching of these important competencies in a natural way, as I experienced in my own classroom when working with the iPads and Spheros. These competencies will be important to students not only in school but as they enter the ever-changing world beyond school as well.
Digital Natives: What Are They Learning, If Anything? by Marilla Svinicki (2017) from the University of Texas is a short but thought provoking read that includes some very relevant considerations that we must take into account when thinking about our students and digital literacy. The idea of today’s children being ‘digital natives’ is widely accepted. Children today are growing up in a very different world than those of past generations (even than those who went through school just a decade ago) and as such their experience of the world is, in many ways, very different than that we experienced growing up – especially in terms of technology. What Svinicki suggests, however, is that just because our students are growing up in this new age with technology at their finger tips, it does not necessarily mean that they know how to use it in away that will strengthen them in terms of the core competencies of Communication, Critical and Creative Thinking, and Personal and Social Responsibility that are now a part of our curriculum. It is my belief that these competencies can be taught and practised through the use of technology but only if this technology use is meaningful, modelled, and practised.
This assignment has enforced for me, once again, the value of collaboration and connectedness, especially in terms of our work as educators. While I have highlighted four main resources, I came across many more in my time investigating these topics and it is evident that these are areas in which many are focusing their learning and professional development at this time. It is interesting to see what is being done not only in our own province but also internationally, and this sharing is made possible through the use of technology.
Resource Collection References:
Common Sense Education. (2016, July 12). What are the 4cs? [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QrEEVZa3f98
Kaye, L (Ed.). (2016). Young children in a digital age: Supporting learning and development with technology in early years. London: Routledge. Retrieved from https://www-taylorfrancis-com.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/books/e/9781317618959
Kucirkova, N., & Falloon, G. (Eds.). (2016). Apps, technology and younger learners: Internation evidence for teaching. London: Routledge. Retrieved from https://www-taylorfrancis-com.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/books/e/9781317402473
Svinicki, M. (2017, March 21). Digital natives: What are they learning, if anything? The National Teaching and Learning Forum, 26(3), 11-12. https://onlinelibrary-wiley-com.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/doi/full/10.1002/ntlf.30112
British Columbia Ministry of Education. Core Competencies. Retrieved from https://curriculum.gov.bc.ca/competencies
Dowd, E. (2017, April 24). Digital literacy and the importance of the 4 C’s in a global context. [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://www.levelupvillage.com/digital-literacy-importance-4-cs/?utm_source=referral&utm_medium=website&utm_campaign=Blogpost_4_24&utm_content=Erin%27s_Global_Digital_Literacy_P21%27s_repost
Guernsey, L. (2007). Into the minds of babes: How screen time affects children from birth to age five. New York, NY: Basic Books.
Schweber, A. (2015, August 7). Digital natives not necessarily tech savvy. Retrieved from https://blogs.absolute.com/digital-natives-not-necessarily-tech-savvy/
University of British Columbia. Library. Retrieved from http://www.library.ubc.ca