Can we use ICTs in the early years? You bet!

The second topic of interest I would like to explore further this week is the use of ICTs in Early Years teaching and learning. There is a common misconception that there are limited options for ICTs with young children, but my exploration has shown otherwise!

A number of my fellow pre-service educators have blogged about fantastic opportunities for enhancing learning with ICTs, and their posts are well worth a read.

Emma Pails explores the use of Bee-Bot robots.

Mrs Grimshaw discusses class blogging in a Year One context

Kate Petty shares her review of some online games such as Busy Things and Turtle Diary.

As you can already see, the options extend far beyond the use of digital cameras and Interactive Whiteboards!

I have chosen to research a piece of equipment that I hadn’t heard of before this morning, when my prac mentor told me that they had just acquired a set and didn’t really know what to do with them yet:

 Easi-Speak Microphones.

Basically, these are MP3 recorders/players that allow the user to record voices, sounds or music on the move. They are designed as a microphone with a built in battery and USB connector.

The technology is really just an MP3 recorder/player, so these activities could also be carried out with any voice recorder if your class doesn’t have access to Easi-Speak microphones. However, I believe the microphone design would be big hit with children, engaging them and encouraging creativity!

Taken from this website, are some of the key features and ideas for use.

Key Features:

  • Easi-Speak lets you record directly into the microphone
  • Playback remotely or download your files straight to your PC through the attached USB
  • 128MB built in memory that can record up to 4 hours (high quality sound)
  • Downloaded files are WAV or MP3 format
  • Audacity Music Editing Software is provided as file on the Easi-Speak
  • Built in battery charged through USB

Top Ideas:

  • Capture audio during role play
  • Take on investigative adventures outdoors
  • Record audio for podcasts
  • Use to support children with EAL needs
  • Encourages reluctant speakers
  • Ideal for oral assessment and APP
Benefits include that the microphone doesn’t require batteries because it charges by connecting the USB to the computer, there is a string to attach the USB cover to the microphone (great for young children!), and the microphone design can take away some of the intimidation of being taped, as it is an inviting design to speak into.
They can be used right across the curriculum, for example for oral language, fluency, phonics, speech therapy, intervention, math facts, podcasts and more. Some more examples of cross-curriculum links can be found here.
I like the idea of students using the microphones to conduct interviews, present an assignment as a ‘reporter’, and walk around the school environment or an excursion recording observations.
The Nerdy Teacher suggests using the microphone for storytelling:
Students could add sentences to a story and pass the microphone around to hear what everyone said and add their part. This would be a great way to get students collaborating on a story and end up with something funny to share with everyone.
 Some more ideas for the Easi-Speak microphone’s use come from the HP Storytelling wiki:
  • Record children’s poems/speech recital for self assessment.
  • Written work can be recorded and showcased on a class blog.
  • Record and listen to music and sounds.
  • Take them with you on EOTC to record ideas.
  • Roving reporter, interviews, surveys, drama, role-play…
  • Learning languages.
  • ESOL.
  • Record and replay reading to self-assess fluency – could also provide evidence for Student/Parent/Teacher Conferences.
  • Use as means of an alternative to written assessment – children speaking about their learning (Teachers could add to student’s digital portfolios).

I’m looking forward to using this equipment on my prac and will keep you updated on how it goes!

Before I sign out, I would also just like to share this huge list of apps that can be used in Kindergarten, compiled by Matt Gomez – it could come in very handy for early years educators 🙂

4 thoughts on “Can we use ICTs in the early years? You bet!

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