Educators' Guide to Innovation

Connecting educators interested in innovation

I am a secondary teacher and in the last few years have taught predominantly senior students. Due to a small year 11 group moving through our school, subjects are combined for year 11 and 12 classes. This has left gaps in my timetable. In 2012, I shall be teaching two prep/one classes  and a grade 4/5 class ICT. (Information and Communications Technology ie Computers and technology)
The question that my principal posed to me when I went to enquire about the direction to be taken with the 5 years olds was "Are preps too young for technology?". My immediate reaction was 'yes' but on further reflection, I have come up with the following thoughts-

  • the majority are most likely using technology at home eg wii, games machines, ipods, iPads, Mum's iPhone etc
  • most are too young to type and login with a username when they first start, but they can use their fingers for gesture based learning and hardware use, talk and use other forms of body language for communication. They can draw, take pics, record etc
  • I am in an almost 'unique' position being able to teach 5 year olds through to 18 years olds. Imagine the learning that will take place for me.
  • opportunity to teach them cyber safety from the youngest of ages and empower their learning with technology
  • use technology to help with literacy and numeracy skills
  • chance to develop global competencies from an early age

Some tasks to cvomplete asap:-

  • check the VELs (Victorian Education Learning Standards) to see what is prescribed curriculum wise for level 1.
  • discover what technology students already use eg do they skype grandparents/relations?, have a wii, games machine etc
  • create a class blog - (dare I experiment with individual blogs halfway through the year?)
  • communicate regularly with parents, encouraging them to comment back on the class blog
  • setup an ultranetspace for students and parents
  • enlist the help of parents during class time
  • book and use the school set of 10 iPads wherever possible
  • develop a buddy system
  • trial the use of easyspeak microphones to create simple podcasts to be embedded on the school blog
  • experiment with skype/playchat (first chat will be on Wednesday with Amanda Marrinan from Queensland) and with skype play. See the skype kinderchatplay project
  • participate in and lead a pioneering Flat Classroom K-2 Project
  • Add a column to my tweetdeck for #kinderchat, #elemchat #earlyyears, #skypeplay and follow the conversations on twitter

Do you think they are too young for technology? What have I missed? What apps should I use on the iPads? I like the idea of creating with technology. What have you used? What would you like to try? What advice do you have for me? Suggestions for any blogs, wikis etc as resources?

Meet my two classes (Wordle was used to create the word clouds)

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Comment by Robyn Floyd on December 29, 2012 at 7:07
I was recently asked to research and write an article for 'First Steps' Parenting Magazine' on the use of technology by the 'touch' generation born into a highly technical world. Fascinating research! As toddlers they will never know a world without digital cameras, computers, DVDs, iPads and Smartphones or Skype. Discussion often centres on the impact of new technologies on teenagers but toddlers also have access to a wide range of multiple media. I note, with wonder and concern, that the pre-schooler in the café using mum’s Smartphone is becoming a distinctly savvy consumer. Long-term research on the effects of the use of digital devices and how they may shape the developing brains of small children is inconclusive. Despite any concerns parents might have, technology is not only here to stay but is progressing at an alarming rate. Even Fisher Price has seen the marketing potential by producing a 'dribble proof' case so parents can give their toddlers their iPad safely!
Comment by Nyunkia Tauss on February 9, 2012 at 11:39

Hi Anne

Another exciting project you're working on!


Last year a couple of colleagues and I visited Debney Meadows PS in Melbourne's inner west. The Principal there, Helen Otway, has introduced iPads for each prep. Very interesting to see the preps (most of whom are ESL, many new arrivals) using the apps to tell stories, learn English etc. After seeing that I would personally argue that it's never too young to start kids with technology, but am v interested to hear what others think.


You might be interested in finding out more via Debney Meadows' online presence:


Comment by Craig Cummings on February 9, 2012 at 8:29

I waqs taliking to a prep teacher the other day and she was saying that her students would have difficulty logging in and navigating the Ultranet for a whole host of reasons (legitimate). She went on to say her 4 year old would have no problem because she has been exposed to using technology and learnt some basic skills. So it seems as though it is as simple as that - exposure and a bit of scaffolding. The challenge will be that , for a lot of kids, their experience is very limited. Then again, maybe the more advanced can teach the others!

Comment by Anne Mirtschin on February 6, 2012 at 21:51

Thank you Chris for your comment - it speaks volumes!

Comment by Chris Eddy on February 6, 2012 at 11:34

We recently bought my mum an iPad. While my 15 year old nephew was trying to help mum learn to use it, my two and a half year old grandson was 'butting in' trying to show how he would use it! Of course, 5 year olds can use ICT!


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