My job is always interesting. I have been an early intervention teacher for 18 years and am amazed and often overwhelmed by how much there is to learn. Technology has always been a necessary part of my job, especially assistive technology. With all of the new technology available, I have recently found myself a new role in our Early Intervention department. It is a very unofficial role, one I was initially reluctant to tackle but have come to enjoy. I am acting as a technology guide, researching and exploring how to use technology to enhance our effectiveness as early interventionists. This blog will give me a forum for sharing thoughts, resources, questions, frustrations, failures and successes regarding technology integration in the field of early childhood education. Let me give you a little background on the iPad project that started this entire journey.
Two years ago my co-worker shared that she was writing a grant. She was proposing a purchase of 20 iPads for use in our Early Intervention department. She asked me if I would assist with coordinating the implementation once we received the devices. I agreed without putting much thought into what that would involve because I didn't think we would get the grant. A portion of the grant application required her to develop a plan for staff development. She wrote that if we received the devices we would share our learning with the other staff in our district and with other area Early Intervention departments. We received the grant. My computer served as the syncing station and our department was the first in our school district to purchase apps through the volume purchasing program. I worked with our Technology Department staff to sync the devices, purchase apps and document purchases. There were many obstacles and it took us awhile to get the devices into the hands of our staff. This was Phase 1 of our iPad project.
Phase 2 involved researching and selecting quality apps. This phase is ongoing as there is a constant stream of apps available in the app store. Phase 3 involves using the iPad to enhance teaching and learning. I found many resources for guiding me along in Phase 2. People have developed and shared lists of apps specific to the toddlers, preschoolers and children with special needs. I also found many helpful app review sites. Based on the abundance of resources to assist in Phase 2, I was very surprised when I started searching for resources to get started with Phase 3 and found very little. I continue to search for and create examples of technology integration in early childhood. As part of our promise on the grant application, I have been presenting on what we have learned. I hope others to do the same so that we can build capacity in our field.