PRESCHOOLS are joining the rush to bring iPads into their classrooms: attending workshops, applying for lucrative technology grants and even using the devices as a selling point for parents.
Educators say the intuitive nature of the technology makes them easy for young children to use. Researchers in the US have recently identified a phenomenon they call ”the pass back effect”, where parents hand their iPhone or iPad to small children to keep them quiet in the car or in the supermarket queue, or because they believe it is educational.
Kristy Goodwin, who runs iPad workshops for preschools, said they were ”never really designed for an educational setting” but as a single-user consumer device.Yet, preschools are incorporating them into their teaching and promoting them to parents. KU, one of the oldest preschool groups in NSW, recently conducted a pilot program using iPads for children with autism.
Dr Goodwin said preschools were applying for corporate grants offered by the likes of Telstra to pay for them.
But educators warn young children will benefit from using mobile devices only if they are supervised.
”Technology is not there for children to go off and learn by themselves,” said Richard Gill, the artistic director of the Sydney Symphony’s education program. ”Computers can work brilliantly hand-in-hand with traditional methods of teaching.”
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