This week I was teaching on a SENCO course and the topic of new technology came up. Now, I’m old enough to remember when ‘video-phones’ were a thing of science fiction. But these days my 5 year old nephew is as likely to Face-time me as he is to phone and it’s something that is absolutely normal for him.
So how do young children view technology today?
The SENCO I was talking to had a really thought-provoking story about just this. It came about because we were laughing about still holding digital cameras up to the face, as if using a view finder, and that children will now ask to ‘see the picture’ on the back of the camera. My SENCO then told us about one of her toddlers who had been asked to go and find the camera to photograph her model. Unable to find the digital camera on the shelf, the very innovative toddler collected the toy mobile phone from the home corner to use instead!
This fitted very well with some research I’ve just been doing about metacognition – the concept of ‘thinking about thinking’. As adults we rarely talk about or make visible our thinking processes for children. My theory is that by having a running narrative or explaining explicitly to young children our reasons for doing things in this way, we help them understand the thinking process. This is important because we have no way of knowing what the future holds, especially in fast moving areas such as ICT.
Similarly, as practitioners, we should encourage children to make their own thinking visible, in whatever way they feel comfortable, whether that is through Sustained Shared Thinking or 3D models or dramatic play. This not only allows us to see how they have reached their conclusions but it also encourages the children to think about their own thinking.
After all, who knows what the world will look like when Prince George becomes King?