Use of technology in the early childhood program must not be a goal unto itself: the purpose is not to teach children how to use computers; they can do this as they get older, just as they can learn to drive a car later in their lives (Wardle, 1999). Appropriate use of technology in the classroom is to expand, enrich, implement, individualize, differentiate, and extend the overall curriculum. And, obviously, curricula goals change with age, and differ from program to program. If a goal of the literacy curricula for a certain age child is to learn to write personal journals, then the computer can naturally support that through writing software, digital cameras, and other methods. A science goal that requires learning the habitat of different zoo animals can be augmented by using specific CD ROMS and accessing zoo web sites. Similarly, studying extinct and endangered animals becomes more real and educational through the use of specific software and websites.
If computers are not fully integrated into the overall curriculum, they can actually negatively impact children’s creativity (Haugland, 1982). To integrate computers effectively, these steps must occur:
1. Create a support team that includes people knowledgeable of technology, and people who understand developmentally appropriate practice;
2. Select developmentally appropriate software;
3. Select developmentally appropriate web sites;
4. Select computers that can run the software selected, and that can be easily upgraded
5. Provide adequate and periodic staff training, both on the use of computers, and on ways of integrating the computers into the curriculum:
6. Integrate computer resources in the classroom.
Early Childhood Assistant Principal