Interactive Displays in Early Years Classes
Interactive whiteboards, and more recently touch panels, have become commonplace in early years and infant classrooms as a more accessible technology for younger learners than a conventional computer. Touch displays can become a social learning tool encouraging hands-on experiences, thereby helping children to learn by doing. In early years classrooms, where most learning is child-centred through play, the large screen can be seen from a distance round the room.
Activities for an interactive display can be designed using computer software to support and extend a child’s hands-on and multi-sensory experiences, as well as reinforce, revisit and extend key learning concepts.
Whilst regular early years appropriate computer programs, websites and flash animation look great, and work well on these systems, the flexibility of specially designed software, like ActivInspire opens up opportunities for more open-ended, child-led interactions. For example, putting up a background related to a favourite story, and allowing children to mark and draw on top of it. Children can add characters, and retell the story to each other.
Younger learners often respond better to activities they can easily relate to, so personalising learning by using their own names, photographs, video of themselves, and familiar objects and places makes experiences more meaningful. A class bank of photographs can be stored as a resource pack within the ActivInspire software allowing children to build their own pictures of school and personal life. Digital photographs can be annotated, with an adult acting as scribe to record a pupil’s ideas and feelings. Better yet, children can record their own ideas for playback. All great ideas for showing to parents on open days/nights, or parent teacher meetings.
@PrometheanUKI recently offered a free webinar entitled ActivInspire and the Early Years Classroom presented by Lorraine Munro, Senior Early Years Practitioner, and Connect Learning today regular blogger. It was a great chance to hear some real life experiences, and see some great ideas for use with younger learners.
Lorraine has also written a great blog for Promethean Planet about using an interactive whiteboard with early years children, which can be read here: http://bit.ly/1hpPtFn. She also has a couple of boards at http://www.pinterest.com/lorrainemunro/ offering ideas of use for ActivExpression, ActivInspire, and the ActivTable.
About the Author:
Janice Prandstatter is a Teaching and Learning Consultant for Promethean in the UK and Ireland. Janice’s education career includes a background in Early Childhood Education and Primary Teaching qualifications. After teaching at a Primary school in a socially deprived area of Edinburgh, Janice was seconded to the local authority as a Primary ICT Development officer. Within her role at Promethean Janice is able to use her knowledge of child development, experience in the classroom, understanding of the everyday pressures of teaching and expertise in education technology to design, implement and lead a variety of CPD opportunities for educators. She has a keen interest in social media and can be found in the Twittersphere both at @JanP65 and @PrometheanUKI.