What is educational technology and how is it being used to support teaching and learning in the early years?


The first phase of my doctoral research involved visiting settings in the North East of England. The findings have just been published in the International Journal of Early Years Education.

You can access the article on their website but will need to pay for it. I am able to send free copies to a limited number of people, so if you are interested please get in touch. you can contact me on twitter @jackcl or through my website: http://www.kaleidoscopeforlearning.co.uk

The article’s abstract is below.

There are many digital technologies available to support teaching and learning. Historically the focus has tended to be on computers, but this has extended to include interactive whiteboards and tablets. As well as these technologies, which were originally designed for adults, there are devices specifically designed to support teaching and learning in the early years. These tend to be overlooked in the literature. This project aimed to find out if this reflected practice in early years settings. Participants from 20 early years settings in the North East of England were asked about ‘educational technologies’. This term was deliberately not defined, the aim was to find out what they thought it meant. They were asked about the technology they had, and how it was being used. This provided an opportunity to explore whether their use of technology fit with their beliefs about teaching and learning. Findings suggest that technology is seen as more than computers and that technology is being used to support a broad range of activities in line with practitioners’ pedagogical beliefs.

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Mobile Devices in Early Learning


An interesting report from Stranmillis University College in Northern Ireland. Based on a research project in primary schools, it evaluates the impact of iPads on learning in the Early Years Foundation Stage. The report can be found at:  http://www.stran.ac.uk/media/media,756133,en.pdf


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Early Years Apps – from E2BN Conference

E2BN17EarlyYearsAppsAt the E2BN conference I did a workshop looking at how technology can be used to support the early years curriculum.

As part of this I shared some suggestions for useful apps. While apps can be used by children individually I try to find ones that are open ended and can be used with other people.

This pdf has  information about the apps that I talked about. They are great for supporting discussion, and for exploring imaginary worlds: EarlyYearsE2BN17 

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Dancing Robots – computing for early years

This is a lovely video to use with children. As well as learning the song and dance they can sequence the parts of the song.


The sequencing can be done in a number of different ways. One example is to print the images on PostIt notes so that they can be arranged to match the dance.

Some examples are in the files listed below. There may be images missing so children can debug the sequence and draw additional image to solve this problem.

Children can also rearrange the images to create their own dances for other children to try and follow.

If you’ve never come across the idea of printing on PostIt notes you can find out how at this website: http://iheartplanners.com/2015/05/08/how-to-print-on-sticky-notes/ 





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E2BN Conference 2017

I will be delivering a workshop at the E2BN Conference again this year. The focus is:

Understanding the World Through Technology

Young children are surrounded by technology that provides exciting opportunities to explore the world. This session will show how a range of technologies can support learning by offering practical ideas directly linked to the Early Years curriculum. Delegates will also be able to try out simple activities that will introduce children to the Computing Curriculum.

I will write up a full blog entry about this soon, with links to the resources I am planning to talk about. In the meanwhile I have uploaded a Pdf version of my presentation. The original is a huge file with lots of videos, this is a much smaller version, though still quite large.


What is educational technology

One of the activities at the workshop was a discussion about what educational technology is. It is often defined as computers, tablets and Interactive Whiteboards but can be interpreted much more broadly. To help with the discussion I prepared a number of cards with pictures of different resources / technologies. Some show things that are educational, some are technology, some are both and others may be neither. There are no right answers, the aim was to get people talking.

The cards are available as pdfs here:
















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