A national sample of school age children 13 and younger found a direct correlation was found between times spent computing at home and cognitive skill, self-esteem and well-being.
It was determined that children with computers and spent under 8 hours a week computing spent as much time with reading, sports and outside play as children without home computers and scored higher in reading comprehension and math calculating than children without computers in the home.
It was found that children who spent more than 8 hours a week on a home computer did participate less in sports and outside play activities than non-computer users. Those same children were substantially heavier than other children who did not have computers at home and revealed feelings of loneliness.
Allowing children to spend more than 8 hours a week on a computer can promote social isolation and obesity.
When comparing the findings of cognitive tests of children with computers and children without computers, significant differences were found. This puts children with no computers at a disadvantage when it comes to academic performance.
A computer is a tool that can enhance learning and should be made available to all children in order to give children an equal opportunity to achieve academically.
Computer use also builds young children’s self-confidence, communication skills as well as their abilities to work cooperatively and socialize with their peers.
A Study about Computer Use Among Head Start Children
122 Head Start children were analyzed to understand the impact computers have on a child’s cognitive school readiness and psychomotor skills.
One experimental group of children was given 15 - 20 minutes daily computer time with developmentally appropriate educational software. The controlled group participated in the standard Heard Start curriculum.
After 6 months, four standardized tests were given that measured school readiness, visual motor skills, gross motor skills, and cognitive development. The experimental group out-performed the controlled group on the school readiness test but inconclusive results were found regarding motor skills.
The data from the study suggested a strong impact of computer use and school readiness. Children with computers at home scored significantly higher than the children without home computers.
The data from the study revealed a greater impact on school readiness and cognitive skills for children who use computers at home only than the experimental children who used computers at school only.
Further research and comparisons need to be made but this study supports the use of computers at home as well as school for under privileged children.
Universal Design Learning- Technology that Levels the Playing Field
Parents, educators, communities, and governments need to establish ways to put computers in the hands of children with sensory, physical, cognitive disabilities as well as children economically disadvantaged.
Assistive technology benefits young children physically, sensory or cognitively.
Assistive technology is an equalizer for young children with disabilities.
Assistive technology provides the tools to the teacher to promote and enhance a disabled child’s learning and educational experience. Assistive technology provides the tools to the teacher to promote and enhance a disabled child’s learning and educational experience.
It levels the playing field in a way that builds confidence and encourages inclusion for those children who otherwise would be left out of the game.
“ In most of these type of learning situations, a disability makes no difference at all.” Behrman, M. (1998)
A Study with Deaf Children and Multimedia Reading Materials
A study that was conducted with twenty five deaf children from the ages of 9 to 18 years old given reading instruction by means of the computer in four different formats.
CD-ROM generated stories were provided to the children in print only, print plus pictures, print plus sign language, and print plus picture plus sign.
The four formats were presented in random order with a personal computer and the children completed the readings at their own pace.
With the completion of each reading activity , using sign language the children’s comprehension performance was analyzed and significant differences were found between the four methods of content delivery.
Findings of Four Formats of Multimedia Reading Material for Deaf Children
No significant differences between print only and print with sign language was found
Nor were there significant differences between print and pictures and print, pictures and sign.
There was significant difference between print only and print and pictures and print, pictures and sign.
There was also significant difference between print and sign and print and pictures and print, pictures and sign.
The results were with computer based text comprehension was lower with print only.
Comprehension was at its highest with print and pictures format.
Comprehension was a little higher with print and picture than it was with print, picture and sign, but showed no statistical difference.
Results of Four Format Multimedia Reading Delivery for Deaf Children
Multi-media presentation of reading material enhanced comprehension among deaf children over a standard print only version, but is not significantly better than standard print with pictures.
This study also reveals that there is no need to include sign language with print.
The study does suggest that multi-media is definitely a good tool for increasing reading comprehension among deaf children.
Children will develop digital fluency more comfortably and naturally if they use computers and other technologies.
For today’s children’s digital fluency will be a requirement to be successful.
Message boards and Webblogs offer a way to learn and share knowledge. They can be used to discuss topics, ask or answer questions, or express feelings. They are excellent ways for children to exercise their voices and promote digital fluency.
“ Storytelling and dialogue have always been a part of educating and entertaining our children. The use of digital technologies may actually encourage different types of literacy, including verbal and visual skills, …digital fluency.” Huffaker, D.
Digital Fluency and the Positive Social Impact for Children
Online forums and virtual communities, including message boards, Weblogs, and instant messaging software allow children places to share ideas and feelings, discuss issues and projects, ask and answer each other’s questions, and promote healthy positive social interactions.
Children love to tell stories and as they get older if they have been allowed to tell stories to interested listeners when it is developmentally appropriate they become writers, then readers and then better writers.
Online communication with the guidance of parents and educators can help children read, write and share from other children around the world.
National Association for the Education of Young Children: Technology and Young Children
Technology does now and will continue to play a significant role.
Benefits of technology on children’s learning and development are well researched and documented.
The developmentally appropriate use of computers must supplement or be a part of the early childhood curriculum, but not replace the important activities of art, books, music, house center, dramatic play, blocks, and sand and water.
Computers encourage positive socialization among young children and their peers.
When children work with a computer, they want to share and work with their classmates.
With the access to the Internet and user friendly networks young children can communicate with children everywhere and take electronic field trips that bring to their world the cultures and places from all over the world.
Computers should be visible and accessible to the children in the classroom because this set-up has more of an impact on learning than if the computers are in a lab.
Chairs need to be available and room for their use around a computer in order to promote collaboration.
Internet access should be available to bring outside learning to the classroom. Virtual tours to zoos, aquariums and special places of interest can bring many educational topics to life. The sites usually have interactive activities that are beneficial to the child’s learning.
The time with technology should not replace the time that young children have with learning experiences of play, music, and art.
Early childhood teachers must be prepared to use technology to benefit the children because in future technology will be significant in their life.
The research that supports those young children given the opportunity to explore with computers enhances their social, language, and cognitive skills.
Computers properly used with administrative support teacher training, correct software, right environment, attentive to time, needs, abilities, and developmentally appropriate activities, technology will have a positive impact on young children’s learning.
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