Members of The “internet generation” are beginning to become parents, says the Ministry of Education and this will result in an increasing public expectation for an organised induction to computer familiarity at an early age.
This is one of the many influences bearing on the need for a coherent approach to the use of ICT in early childhood education (ECE), says the Ministry of Education.
Early childhood is defined as the period from birth to five or six years old.
The ministry is commissioning an “infrastructure environmental scan” to identify some of the key influences, technical, institutional and political and socio-cultural on the practice of ICT in early education and to assess their impact on the ECE sector.
Suggested topics for examination include: How technologies are being applied in the sector; the reasons for particular types of technology being taken up by the sector, and the levels of desired and “appropriate” technology.
The results of the scan will be used to inform the Ministry’s evolving “ICT framework for early childhood education.”
This framework, subtitled “Foundations for Discovery”, puts much attention on collaboration and the formation of clusters of teachers to exchange information, which suggests common data formats, operating systems and applications.
At the same time, the request for proposal for the “environmental scan” recognises that there is a wide difference of opinion on the importance of ICT in early childhood education and the best ways to use it.
The scan is expected to look at the use of all kinds of equipment, from digital cameras and microscopes and DVD players in the context of ECE.
A report is scheduled to be complete by March next year. The Ministry gives an indicative cost of $40,000 to $70,000, plus GST, for the study.