BMK Educator Platform: to educate children in digital technology

In our current world, digital technology is indispensable, and it has a major impact on the circumstances in which children grow up. But what does it mean for children, and what does it require of childcare and its professional educators? The BMK Educator Platform gives its vision on this topic.

BMK Educator Platform: to educate children in digital technology
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Digital technology has become indispensable and is also affecting children. We must also deal with (commercial) interests that do not always go hand in hand with the interests of the child. Children need an emotionally and physically safe environment to grow up, which should not be compromised by the advanced digital technology in the world of children. This touches on topics such as privacy, play material adapted to the child’s developmental stage, the child’s autonomy and digital (game) activities that are complementary and / or in-depth in relation to the current range of physical activities. In short, how do we use the potential of digital technology to contribute to the development of children’s personal and social competences and to the transfer of democratic and humane norms and values?

BMK Educator platform

The world is changing rapidly, and that means we must constantly put our parenting problems in a different light. For example, the advent of digital technology requires (professional) educators to answer the question of how we relate to this far-reaching and exciting development, and what new opportunities and responsibilities it brings. Central to this is what we strive for with education; what do we travel?

In this article, BMK’s Educational Platform explains how social childcare sees the role of digital technology and its impact on education. This BMK Platform, with a permanent core and changing guest thinkers, gives a vision of a current theme in the sector three times a year. The starting point for this is ‘BMK’s Pædagogiske Fond’.
Together with education, we have a social responsibility to make digital technology accessible to every child, it sounds from the Educator Platform. With the help of a number of concrete handles, it becomes clear how a vision of digital technology can be concretely translated into the workplace.

The 4th educational environment

Today’s children are accustomed to ‘screen use’ from an early age; from household appliances to desktop computers (Ieniemieniemedia research, 2020), and they also see that adults are involved. For children, there is really no difference between an analog and digital world, it flows into each other and they have the right to learn to relate to this new world. Therefore, digital technology – in particular social media – can be called the 4th educational environment. either; an important leg that (professional) educators must take into account and take responsibility for. It can be done by thinking about it and by contributing to a secure and healthy digital world. This 4th educational environment describes the Pedagogical Platform in the ‘Pedagogical Foundation’.

Development needs

The educator platform is committed to understanding the applications of digital technology in pedagogical, developmental, psychological and ethical terms and to meeting developmental needs, a rich play environment, risky play and equal opportunities for children. Emphasis is placed on the pleasure and possibilities of the new applications as well as risks.

Peter Paul Verbeek, Professor of Philosophy of People and Technology (University of Twente) sees the great opportunities that this technology offers, but also the concerns about the technology’s impact on education. He emphasizes the importance of consciously dealing with digital technology so that it does not happen to us, but that we consciously choose how we use digital technology. According to Verbeek, it is not about keeping technology out, but about engaging in interaction. What do we do to ourselves with technology? We must embrace and manage technology. †On the wings of Icarus. How technology and morality move with each other. (2014)

The technological citizenship of the future

A child learns to interact with a meaningful environment through experience. This is done intuitively and playfully. In addition, a child learns with other people around him and with the things around him. If children’s institutions want to prepare children for the world of the future, where ‘technological citizenship’ is indispensable, digital technology is also part of this. This means that children need to develop the skills needed to access digital technology, that they learn to use digital technology as a means to their own goals and learn what technology does to you and how to deal with it. . Based on BMK’s social mission, the Educator Platform believes that all children must be supported in learning to handle digital technology in a healthy way.

Risk of inequality in opportunities

Excluding certain groups of children from the 4th digital environment ‘digital technology’ increases the inequality of opportunities between children. If children want to develop broadly and participate fully and independently in the (future) society, they must have access to all forms of learning in digital technology. Children learn about digital technology (‘digital literacy’), but also through digital technology (‘digital skills’) and by using digital technology themselves. Make or create something yourself, e.g.

High purchasing costs

Childcare and education therefore have a social responsibility to make digital technology accessible to all children. The resources needed to access the digital world still have high acquisition costs, which may mean that not all children have the opportunity to use them at home. It is precisely for these children that care and education must ensure equal opportunities.

Guidelines

The way in which children develop and learn in a certain (age) phase plays an important role in whether digital technology is used for groups in childcare. For what information can the children process cognitively? And what is their excitement? And does the content correspond to, for example, the child’s interests, perceptions and language level?

The educator platform therefore argues for a broader view of ‘screen time’, with a focus on the child’s content and development phase. It is more important to know what the child is doing on a screen than the duration. And of course keep the child in mind. Is it able to self-regulate – can it stop by itself? Or does it need help? For some children, digital technology may motivate them to persevere and stay focused. And yet others become apathetic or agitated. It’s about a healthy balance and appropriate content, and it’s different from child to child.

Coaching

Digital (game) material is part of the rich play environment in childcare. But how does the pedagogical professional guide children in interaction and the (common and) exploratory play in it? Some of the educational professionals have not grown up with this and digital technology did not play a role during their education either. They sometimes feel incompetent and see bears on the road. While the biggest success factor is the enthusiasm of the pedagogical professional who supervises it. The same goes for parents. They play a crucial role in how children grow up to become responsible and skilled digital citizens. Children today deserve a digital education!

Application

But how does one do that; provide material for digital formation in the group? Below are a number of specific applications of the 4th educational environment in the group.

  • There is no golden formula for shaping media education (as the handling of digital technology for educational situations is also called). However, many handles have been developed for practice, politics and training. For both home and childcare. MediaDiamant is an example of a tool for the home and work.
  • Learning to handle digital technology is like playing outside / accepting risky play: Go in with joy and a positive outlook, of course avoid the biggest dangers and adjust if necessary. Just get started!
  • Digital technology requires educational professionals to step out of your comfort zone here and there. You do not have to know everything yourself to be able to work with children with digital technology. Children, on the other hand, can teach you everything and are proud to be able to express / show what they already know and can do in that area. In return, you need to clarify matters, extend it to, for example, offline activities or have a good conversation about it. Experiencing digital technology together means that you understand each other’s world. A boost for children’s participation and the bond for the children!
  • When you, as an educational professional, open up to digital technology, you create an atmosphere where children also dare to come to you when there is something wrong that they experience with digital technology. This is also part of a modern safe atmosphere in the group.
  • Share stories and experiences in this field with parents and inspire them in this way for their media education at home.

Good practice

Finally, a few tips and points of attention from an online membership session on this topic, which BMK hosted in November last year.

  • Involve your employees and children in the development of digital technology and media policies. Put the joy first and let the employees discover for themselves what the possibilities are.
  • Merge digital technology into existing operations. Offer online and offline activities side by side.
  • Parents are sometimes too careful. Keep them well informed about developments, they also need information.
  • Build by age and development phase in the digital resources you offer, and distinguish between online – offline and digital – analog.
  • It is important to continue to monitor the impact of the use of digital technology on the Group. How does the use affect e.g. the work noise / background noise in the group and the children’s attitude (are they distracted)?
  • Dealing with digital technology requires a pedagogical point of view, as well as a technical vision (Wi-Fi, hardware, access to secure software) and quality glasses (eg privacy regulations). Interdisciplinary collaboration is therefore definitely necessary in the organization.

Note: this article was written by BMK in response to the vision that the BMK Educational Platform developed on digital technology and includes contributions from Ruth de Waal, Ellen Monteban, Simon Hay, Anneke van Soest, Marijke Koekkoek and Tim van der Harst.

Citation
Guiding Principles for the Use of Early Learning Technology (Department of Education, USA)
-Harriet Price, The Really Useful Book on ICT in the Early Years, 2009
-Hello world, What everyone should know about digital technology. Maurits Kaptein (2018)
-Digital dementia. Manfred Spitz. (2018)
-Icarus’ wings, how technology and morality move together. Peter Paul Verbeek. (2014)
– Organic model of Bronfenbrenner
-Ieniemienie Media Survey, 2020
-Mediawijsheid.nl

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