What is the 21st century classroom like? How is the educational setting evolving with recent advances in technology? How are students and teachers alike adapting to the change?
These, and other questions, were discussed at the just-concluded 1st Philippine Summit on Early Childhood Education sponsored by Wyeth Preschool Gold and Maximus Inventus in Fort Bonifacio Global City. In attendance were some 750 educators, program administrators, students, researchers, pediatricians, psychologists and other stakeholders in the important area of early learning.
Taking center stage were two well-respected experts in the field: Dr. George Morrison and literacy specialist, Ms. Laura Benson. They planed in to Manila just for the event and even took time to meet with some of us mommy bloggers. We agree with them that education in the early stages is crucial in child development. There’s a variety of educational methods and also different strategies for learning. My kids, for example, are traditionally-schooled but I know of some contemporaries who are home schooling their children. The important thing, I believe,is not to leave all learning to the schools and academics but also to foster the right environment in the home. To give opportunities for kids to be creative, to see the world and explore their latent talents and abilities. Yes, even while at play 😀
In the age of television, computers and electronic games, reading and love for the written word shouldn’t be forgotten. Ms. Benson gave the following tips:
– Read to your children everyday.
– Fill up their ears with the language of books
– Create book club talk, discuss stories like you would in a book club
– Encourage your children to ask questions and wonder
– Encourage your children to write. “There’s a little bit of our soul on paper.”
With today’s advances in technology, Dr. Morrison acknowledged that there is a “generational divide” between older people and young children who grew up with computers and other high-tech tools around them. Parents and teachers should be able to keep up with the times. Dr. Morrison proposes some ways to achieve this:
– Be wiling to try new ways of using technology to help children learn new knowledge and skills.
– Lead by example. If kids see their moms using computers to access information and send emails, for instance, kids will come to understand that computers are a natural part of schooling and learning.
– Use computers and other modern tools to help children develop positive peer relationships, explore adult roles and improve their self-esteem. Kids can be made to play the roles of newscaster, weather forecaster and photographer so that they’ll be made more comfortable dealing with technology.
-Provide children safe access to the Internet. If possible, use a computer program, such as Cyber Sentinel, which blocks access to chat rooms and instant messages.
If you have other ideas on the topic, share them here 😉