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Touch Tablet Surprises: A Preschool Teacher's Story

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Young Children Volume 67, Number 3, ISSN 1538-6619


A year and a half ago, Rena, Cheri, and Cassandra were introduced to each other by a colleague because they shared an interest in exploring the impact newer technologies have on learning in early childhood classrooms. They meet regularly to share ideas and information on how to incorporate tablets using best practices. Cassandra's preschool classroom serves as a natural environment for them to test their ideas. This article describes a collaborative effort. The authors are conducting additional research on the use of technology with preschool children. Concern about the negative impact that computer use has on children's social interactions in the classroom is a long-standing issue in education circles. With this in mind, Cassandra slowly integrated the touch tablets by first introducing a single device for a group of children. She began by showing the tablet to the entire group during circle time and discussing how children could use it. The children then dispersed to play in a variety of centers. Cassandra remained on the rug and worked with a small group of children who were interested in exploring the tablet. Four children then moved to the library center to work together on the tablet. As the week progressed, all of the children had used the tablet. Once she was satisfied with their interactions, she gave the children two tablets, eventually making all four touch tablets available in the library center. She hoped that without enough tablets for individual play, the children would learn to use them cooperatively. As Cassandra introduced the touch tablets into her classroom activities, she encountered four surprises: (1) Cooperation; (2) Collaboration; (3) Digital citizenship; and (4) Connection to the real world. Cassandra has come a long way in the short time she has been using touch tablets in her classroom--from helping the children hold the device for fear it might drop and break, to letting them touch the screen while making cookie dough. Many educators resist using technology out of concern that it is not developmentally appropriate for young children. However, when educators are intentional and selective in its use, technology can enhance early childhood education.


Shifflet, R., Toledo, C. & Mattoon, C. (2012). Touch Tablet Surprises: A Preschool Teacher's Story. Young Children, 67(3), 36-41. Retrieved February 25, 2021 from .

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