Anyone who knows me knows that early years really isn’t my thing. The little ones and me just don’t get on! However, leading computing and ICT for the whole school means that I have to make sure the classrooms are fit and functioning, and that teachers feel supported. In the early years classrooms I’ve tried to make sure that the ICT provision is in place, and that when pupils come to me in the computer suite they get good basic knowledge on the computer. Below is a list of 5 essentials for every early years teacher to ensure that pupils engage with technology. I use them every week, and will really help to promote technology with your pupils.
I’m a big advocate for the use of photography in classrooms, and this is an essential for both the teacher and the pupils in an early years room. Teachers, have one to hand to capture those quick learning moments. I’m sure that’s advice you’ve all been given and work to in your rooms, but try and make sure there’s a camera available to the pupils. Seeing the world through a reception child’s eyes can be a wonderful thing, and it’s great to see them exploring. As a few of you will know my recommendation is the Ricoh WG series, expensive but reception child proof, and I don’t take that lightly. We all know how tough tech needs to be with the little ones, and this are still in perfect condition!
This is my most favouritest website for EYFS EVER. Super simple, and really engaging for younger pupils. The site consists of small little games and animations for the pupils to have a go at. The beauty of this website is the lack of instructions. Pupils have to click and investigate to find out what they need to be doing, showing great problem solving skills in the process. It’s also great for the lost art of mouse control. Kids coming into school using nothing but a touch screen device means they’ve not got the basic understanding of how to hold a mouse in their hand. One of the first things I teach them!
This is my number one bit of software for teachers to have in early years. Publishing software that just works. Loads of different templates for the pupils that can be used in an infinite number of ways. It’s easy to print/save/open for younger pupils, and it even has an integrated camera for the kids to take selfies with! I probably use this at least once a week with different groups, well worth the money. Works great on a touch screen computer too with is handy when the kids aren’t great at using the mouse!
My second piece of 2 Simple Software to make the list, and it shows how much I value the software. 2DIY is a simple bit of games making software that always the children to create and program without even knowing it. It has loads of different genres of games, that all come with a neat video guide. If you go through PurpleMash to play it there is even a 3d game the kids can make. Sharing is easy too as you can export as a Shockwave file. One of my favourites as it does exactly what it says on the tin, always works and always produces great results from the kids.
Old but Gold. These should be in every early years classroom, or at least available to them. The kids will never get old of them, and the possibilities are endless. Everyone knows how a beebot works, and how much the kids get from them so I won’t preach to the choir. What I will say though is that at the moment the market is flooded with new and flashy toys for kids to program with, and they all come with a huge price tag when you’re buying a class set of them. With a beebot you know what you’re getting. You know it’s going to work every time, and has stood the test of time to out grow the gimmick phase.