News on ICT in Education

June 2014 | UNESCO Bangkok Office

Highlight: ICT and Early Childhood Care and Education

We can hardly imagine education institutions today without any presence of ICT. More and more children encounter modern communication technology such as computers, smartphones or tablets before they go to school, even before they go to preschool. Naturally, they are exposed to both positive and negative impacts of digital technologies. This newsletter edition with the theme “ICT and Early Childhood Care and Education“ will take a closer look on usage of ICT in early years and its potential for a more comprehensive development of children before they go to school.

Our two highlighted articles examine the benefits and risks of ICT use in early childhood, one article by Mami Umayahara, written from her perspective as Programme Specialist for Early Childhood Care and Education, and the other by Polyxeni Evangelopoulou written from her experience as pre-school educator and researcher.In its analytical survey “Recognizing the potential of ICT in early childhood education” UNESCO IITE suggests strategies for the development of ICT capability of early childhood education centres and gives recommendations for educators, parents and policy makers, based on extensive literature review and analysis of theoretical educational approaches.The long-term European research project “Developmentally appropriate technology for early childhood (DATEC)” culminated in a framework that identifies nine general criteria for determining the appropriateness of the ICT applications and tools to be applied in early childhood education.Further useful resources featured in this newsletter include a guiding document published for those working in early childhood education programmes on both the opportunities and the challenges of the use of technology and interactive media; and the Lancashire Schools' Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) ICT skills progression, which provide planning grids for educators on how ICT can be integrated in early years education. Lastly, a more critical stance towards ICT in early childhood education is taken in an article published by the New York Times, which introduces several neurological studies that showed negative development effects on children if they are not exposed enough to handwriting in their early years.

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Benefits and risks of ICT use in early childhood
ICT can support different aspects of learning and development processes of young children, including language, creativity and problem-solving skills. Children can also play and learn together using ICT, which can foster their ability to communicate and collaborate. Moreover, ICT facilitate more personalized learning and thus can diversify and increase learning opportunities for every child, including children with special educational needs. 

Educators’ attentive use key to maximizing ICT benefits in early years education
This article stresses that an attentive, thorough and knowledgeable integration of ICT across curriculum is the best answer to most concerns on using ICT in early year education. The question is not anymore whether young children should use ICT or not, but rather how educators and parents should use ICT effectively in order to enhance children’s learning and development avoiding potential risks

Programmes & Projects

Developmentally appropriate technology for early childhood (DATEC)
The rapid expansion of low-cost computing has been accompanied by a push for digital devices in the classrooms of all students. In order to ensure the useful inclusion of ICT in education in an age where the difference between a useful, educational ICT and toys is not always clear, the European Union founded DATEC (Developmentally Appropriate Technology for Early Childhood)

News and Events

Learn by coding
"Knowing how to code?" or "literacy of the XXI century? " - UNESCO's YouthMobile initiative and Intel Software hosted a round table on this peculiar issue on Friday, June 13 on the occasion of the 5th edition of Futur en Seine in Paris (France), with the support of Cap Digital.

81 nations represented at Conference on Early Care and Education
Eight hundred forty-one early childhood leaders and practitioners from 81 nations participated in the tenth World Forum on Early Care and Education held May 6 – 9, 2014, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The focus of the event was to discuss the delivery of quality services to young children globally and to develop action plans for achieving quality in diverse settings.

International Conference “ICT in Education” in Mongolia
The International Conference “ICT in Education: Digital Pedagogy, Learning Technology, Teachers and OER” was held in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, on 6-7 May 2014. More than 350 educators from secondary schools and higher education institutions, education administrators and NGO took part in this conference. The main topics of the conference were digital pedagogy, teacher’s competencies and education management information system.


Recognizing the potential of ICT in early childhood education
The analytical survey “Recognizing the potential of ICT in early childhood education” undertaken by UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (IITE) involved a literature review and comprehensive analysis of theoretical approaches to early childhood education and the methods of ICT application to child development and early learning.

Technology and interactive media as tools in early childhood programmes serving children from birth through age 8
This position statement is intended primarily to provide guidance to those working in early childhood education programmes serving children from birth through age 8. Although not developed as a guide for families in the selection and use of technology and interactive media in their homes, the information here may be helpful to inform such decisions.

ICT skills progression: Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1
The Lancashire Schools' Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) ICT skills progression has been produced in order to help and support EYFS and Key Stage 1 practitioners using ICT within the curriculum of the United Kingdom.

What’s lost as handwriting fades?
This article published by the New York Times is discussing several recent neurological and psychological studies undertaken in the USA which examined the effects on children’s educational development if too much emphasis on the usage of keyboards is given after they had been introduced to handwriting in kindergarten and first grade.

⇒ Download all articles in one document (pdf, 480kb)



Readers Corner

This is your space! If you wish to make comments or suggestions on the featured articles or any ICT-related issues, please send your thought and contributions to our editors: Let your voice be heard!!

Due to the large scale and universal harmful ICT usage actions across the world, the 15.05.2014 newsletter highlighted the fostering digital citizenship through safe and responsible use of ICT, based on the work of Experts’ Meeting for “Fostering Digital Citizenship through Safe and Responsible Use of ICT” on March 6-7, 2014 at Nanyang Technological University. Facing the risks and opportunities coexisting in the usage of ICT, education and research for proper usage are of a great necessity. It is welcomed that researchers have begun to emphasize digital citizenship education. However, this new type of education has not been put into most governments’ schedule agencies, especially in less developed countries. In addition, initiatives of collaboration among government, school, family, researcher and children are proactive. More work needs to be done in incorporating digital citizenship education into school’s curriculum. Yes, this is a real important action to prepare our children to be good digital citizens for a better future. Tongyou Zhao, Chinese, Guangzhou City, China.

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Latest Publications

ICT in Education Policy, Infrastructure, and ODA Status in the Selected ASEAN Countries
This study examines the status of ICT in Education in eight Southeast Asian countries, namely Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. The study focuses on these countries’ ICT in Education policies and programmes, infrastructure, official development assistance (ODA) status, and readiness for new and advanced learning technologies (such as learning with robots).

⇒ More UNESCO Bangkok ICT in Education Publications


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The opinions expressed in the documents included in this newsletter are those of the authors and editors and do not necessarily reflect the policies or views of UNESCO, nor of any particular Division or Office. All rights to the resources included in this guide remain with their respective copyright owners, as indicated for each resource.