Children’s empowerment in play and technology
When we think about EarlyWorks, we probably think of it as an Educator tool, after all much of our day is documented in EarlyWorks: nappy changes, menus, sleep times, observations, experiences, journals, online forms. And most of the phone and email conversations I have focus on how educators and families use EarlyWorks.
My perspective on this shifted after reading the feature article in the latest Early Childhood Australia Every Child Magazine, ‘Children’s empowerment in play and technology’. After reading this article, I am wondering if EarlyWorks could be shared with everyone, most importantly, the children.
We know that children learn so much from the adults in their world and lots of their play involves copying the behaviour they see. At day-care, children will notice Educators using devices to take photos and videos, jot down observations, record sleep times, nappy changes and food choices. You may have even observed children using devices in their play, role playing an educator taking photos on a phone, or typing on a tablet. One of the suggestions made in this feature article is to build on this and allow children to participate in their documentation of learning. “This ensures their voice, particularly their interpretation of the learning, is truly embedded in the documentation.” (Every Child Magazine, p. 7).
It also provides an opportunity for children to see devices being used in a meaningful way, and importantly, for the child to have control over what is recorded on that device. A brilliant way of ensuring each child’s agency is promoted, enabling them to make choices and decisions that influence their world (NQS Element 1.2.3 Child directed learning).
Educators might intentionally involve children with EarlyWorks by sharing devices with children and:
- Allowing children to take photos and then choose which to share in EarlyWorks observations and journals.
- Asking children why they chose to include particular photos and videos? What learning did they see happen? How do those photos make them feel? Why are they important? Who do they want to share them with? And then record these responses as captions for the photos and videos.
- Giving children the opportunity to create the narrative for observations and journals, and even the reflection of learning.
- Asking children what they would like to do next and include that as the next experience in EarlyWorks.
According to Early Childhood Australia, sharing technology with children, to participate in the documentation of learning may result in children feeling empowered, and promote positive mental health and wellbeing.
I cannot think of a better way to truly embed the standards and elements of Quality Area 5, Relationships with Children, into our every day.