an online interactive event for educators and early childhood specialists, discussing the use of e-‐books in early childhood learning hosted by University of Southern Queensland Preservice Educators, Melissa Ellis, Ali McDonald, Rachael Hardie and Katrina Johnson
Welcome! Thanks so much for joining us on this journey, as we discover the impact that e-‐books have on early childhood literacy. Please, join in the discussion on our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter and have a look at our Pinterest board. Make sure you also prioritize joining in our Friday night LIVE session on Facebook. With interactive audio clips, videos and more, you will not want to miss out on this important event, discussing e-‐books and literacy with other like minded educators. Our aim for this event is that participants gain a greater understanding of the potential for e-‐ books in an early learning setting, and are equipped through professional discussion, to begin applying this knowledge in everyday practices. 2
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Welcome Contents Early Connections – ICT and Literacy The Weight of a Paperback The Extraordinary, Exciting, Efficient e-‐Book! The Tools that Make it Work Learning from Your Little Ones References and Resources
Find lots more resources, discussion points and ideas on our Facebook page. Please, join in the conversation over there!
Early Connections – ICT and Literacy No longer are early childhood teachers just seeking out puddles and dirt for mud pies, or cleaning up glitter glue spills on the carpet, or discussion disputes over a baby doll having two ‘mums’. Alongside developing creative and play skills in young children, early childhood professionals are also introducing our children to the foundations of numeracy, literacy and, increasingly, technology. With iPhones, Kindles, Nooks, iPads, notebook computers and hundreds of other gadgets becoming increasingly standard in an Australian child’s life, it’s no wonder they are often digitally literate, expertly navigating their way to the ‘Angry Birds’ app, prior to knowing their ABC’s (or perhaps an app taught them that!) or even starting kindergarten. No longer are literacy skills, therefore, confined to pen and paper and a hardcover book. The options are wide open, with interactive apps for iPads, games with letters on the interactive whiteboard and
e-‐Book downloads for Kindle and Nook. So what are early childhood teachers to do? Is the e-‐book and associated device the new bookshelf for our classrooms? The Queensland curriculum Essential Learnings clearly outline ICT (information, communication and technology) expectations for all students, beginning with standards to be understood by the end of year three. If our nine year olds need to be able to write an email, participate in online learning events, complete Internet searches, use word processing programs, navigate keyboards and USB’s… goodness! It’s no wonder this all has to start early – that’s a lot to know! (view the P-‐3 standards here) Our society moves at a fast pace – does this mean we will lose the beauty and wonder of cracking open a new book for the first time, or rediscovering a 100-‐year-‐old hardback… and inhaling that beautiful, new-‐or-‐musty book smell? What about feeling the pages, slowing down enough to take in the texture, to ‘feel’ the words, and trace the ink… Are books on the way out, replaced by digital texts? We invite you to join us in a discussion of words – and the discovery of two worlds – the printed and the digital. It’s Paper vs. Pixels. by group member, Rachael Hardie
Click each video below to view on YouTube, and consider your opinion – Paper or Pixels?
The Weight of a Paperback – What are the unique benefits of traditional books? Speaking from both an early childhood educator and parent perspective I see the value of both eBooks and paper books. I can understand that it today’s world eBooks are important for children’s learning and development for many reasons and children should learn how to use them and gain experience with them but particularly for young children (before school) I really notice the advantages of paper books. I can see many aspects of development for young children that are evident through the use of paper books that are not so obvious through the use of eBooks. Advantages that stem from paper books spread across many areas of development, from sensory development, to social skills, fine motor and even emotional development. Sensory development for infants is a major part of their learning and the different textures you see in the sensory books designed for young children are not something they can get from eBooks. Children are not able to feel the fur on a kitten or the soft fluffy cloud through the use of an eBook and not only is this a vital aspect of infant development but it is also something many children quite enjoy when reading. Learning to care for paper and turn the individual pages of a book again is not something children get from eBooks. While eBooks do have their own aspects for developing fine motor skills and encouraging children to learn to care for them they are not the same. Children need to development the skills to pick up and turn a thin piece of paper, one page at a time. They need to understand that if they do not look after the book pages can go missing or get torn and they will no longer have the complete story, aspects will be missing. There is also the issue of cost, the cost to have enough eBooks for all the children in a daycare centre would be quite substantial, not to mention the cost of electricity to keep them charged. And let’s face it we all use enough electricity, do we really need another item to drain the power when we have perfectly good books that don’t use any power 6 already.
There is also the aspect of display, if we think of things like ‘book week’ when numerous books are put on display and children can see them all spread around the room, can we really do that with eBooks? What about book corners in the classroom, where children can see a number of books displayed and choose the one they would like to read? Finally I think there is something so special about sitting with your own child, reading a book together, each of you holding a side of the book. Or children can sit together and share a story, I know children can do this with eBooks but is it really the same? Why are we in such a rush to get rid of the traditional ways of reading when they have worked for us for so long? Thoughts from group member, Katrina Johnson
I think that so much of what reading books is about is in the physical book itself. Learning skills such as how to hold the book the right way, turning pages correctly, appreciating the book and caring for the book. There are also other skills that are much easier to learn with a book that is physically available such as identifying the first page, return sweeps, full stops and capitals letters, etc. There is also something special about the aesthetics of a printed book, the way it feels, looks and smells that brings a special element to the whole reading process. -‐ thoughts from a Kindergarten teacher Such a great range – and more personal. Exciting and engaging as it offers the children an experience – to touch and connect with the entire contents of the book. -‐ thoughts on printed books from an early childhood teacher They are easily accessible. Children can go to a printed book at any time, whereas with an eBook there is the requirement to logon to a computer which delays the amount of reading time a child has, and can also stop some children from being able to use whenever they feel. Learning print concepts is easier from a printed book. Artworks in children’s books are often very beautiful and play a big part in the reading of the text, on interactive whiteboards, the image quality is lost. -‐ thoughts from a primary teacher
The Extraordinary, Exciting, Efficient... eBook! the great things about eBooks What exactly is an e-‐book? An e-‐book is a book in an electronic format. E-‐ books are downloaded using the internet on many different devices such as a computer, laptop, smart phone, Ipod, Ipad, Interactive white board, PDA or an e-‐book reading device such as the kindle. Once they are downloaded to a device we can then read them. E-‐books have many great features. Some of these features are the same as ‘normal’ books, such as numbered pages, a table of contents, and pictures. E-‐ books also have many features that are not present in ‘normal’ books; they are interactive; containing audios, videos, animations, and games. All of these features are very appealing to children. Many e-‐books are developed from ‘normal’ books, giving readings the option to read old beloved stories digitally. E-‐books are very cost effective; there are no packing and shipping costs although purchasing a device to read them on can be quite expensive. The time it takes to download an e-‐ book is almost instantaneous where as when purchasing a ‘normal’ book you would have to take the time to go to the shop and buy it or wait for it to be delivered if you purchased it online. There is always the option of printing an e-‐book if you would prefer to read it on paper. There are many online libraries available that you can borrow an e-‐book from which will save you a trip to the local library.
E-‐books take up less space than ‘normal’ books. Hundreds of e-‐books can be stored on a singular small device. The lifespan of an e-‐book is much longer than that of a ‘normal’ book; ‘normal’ books can be easily damaged and can deteriorate over time. E-‐books can be easily transported; you can transport hundreds of e-‐books on a lightweight device, this is not an easy task with ‘normal’ books. E-‐books are an extremely valuable tool for children with learning difficulties or visual impairments. Most e-‐books for children have an audio option; this is very helpful for beginning readers and children that have difficulties reading. In some e-‐books the font can be resized which caters for children with visual impairments. Children live in a technology filled world; it is all around them and they love it. E-‐books motivate children to learn. What better way to enhance learning then by exposing children to learning experiences that they enjoy. Many are concerned that in the future e-‐books are going to replace ‘normal’ books. What do you think? Will it be in with the e-‐book and out with the ‘normal’ book? Thoughts from group member, Melissa Ellis
Exposing children to different mediums of communication and learning is always valuable within an early childhood classroom. Allowing children to be exposed to different text types, multimedia, ICT’s and other technology enhances their learning in all areas. The use of eBooks is a way to ensure that exposure to these elements is presented in a way to ensure quality learning occurs. Additionally, reading and hearing books through sources and text types such as eBooks allows new and different dimensions of stories to be heard, allowing children to be exposed to wider literature. -‐ thoughts from a Kindergarten/primary school teacher E-‐books are engaging for children. Some eBooks will read the book to the child, which can be beneficial if students are working by themselves to read a book. -‐ thoughts from a primary school teacher 9
What do you see as the advantages of using eBooks in an early childhood classroom? ABSOLUTELY NONE!!!!! - renowned children’s author, Mem Fox
The Tools that Make it Work practical inspiration for integrating ICT in your classroom All around the world, early childhood teachers are using ICT’s in their classrooms to enhance learning. Here are a few examples of how they are being used. A kindergarten class in Indonesia used twitter to connect to another kindergarten class in Canada, which was part of a project called ‘Kindergarten Around the World’. Through twitter the two classes communicated and taught each other about their culture and lifestyle by typing questions and answers and sending videos and pictures. This project allowed the children to not only learn about and appreciate another culture but to learn communication skills, ICT skills and develop an appreciation of their own culture and lifestyle. This project really shows that ICT’s are a great learning tool to have in an early childhood classroom and that young children are more then capable to use technology. For the full story, click here. Richard Colosi is a grade one teacher from New York who uses interactive technology in his classroom to enhance his students learning. He uses technology such as the ipad and ipod touch to improve his student’s literacy skills. Richard’s students learn to read by using the ipad to echo read. Echo reading involves the students opening up an e-book, listening to the narrator then copying what the narrator says while looking at the words. If the student gets stuck on a word, all they have to do is tap on the word and the e-book will tell them what the word is. Not only is this method of learning to read efficient and effective, it’s also fun for the students, which will help them to develop a love of reading. To watch a video of Richard’s students echo reading plus other great ways that he uses technology in the classroom, click here. Minnetonka Public School in the United States uses interactive technology in all year levels including kindergarten and special education. In the early years the school uses interactive whiteboards to capture young children’s attention, which enables them to teach them early literacy concepts through many different applications that can be used on an interactive whiteboard, one of these being interactive e-books.
The early learning teachers at Minnetonka Public School have found the interactive whiteboards to be both fun and exciting for the children and have found that use of the whiteboards allows the teachers to be more involved with the children when reading stories. Have a look at these two videos, which are about the use of technology at Minnetonka Public School. For the first, click here. To view the second video, click here. Thoughts from group member, Ali McDonald
Three More Resources... ICT in the Early Years – resource filled website from the UK
Free e-‐Book by Practical Preschool – Using ICT in the Early Years Early Childhood Australia’s article on “Learning with Technology”
Click the image to visit each site.
Learning from Your Little Ones what the toddlers become the teachers Personally, I’ve found that integrating ICT into an early childhood classroom is more of a learning curve for me than the children! As a digital native (the baby of my uni course at only 18 years old), parents and co-‐workers often ask me questions, as I’m the one that apparently knows everything! Well, none of us do know everything. And so, we are constantly learning, and it seems the way we do that best is by doing two things… 1) Watching or hearing someone else do it, and 2) Just having a go! Little ones are keen to jump in and try something, even if it means that ‘something’ gets broken in the process, or they don’t quite get it right. Having a go and being wrong is more enticing than sitting back and never knowing. Rightly so, I say! Let’s take a risk, and just see what happens. As educators, we need to never be closed minded to the way things should be… the way things can be. Perhaps early childhood literacy is becoming less about the story Miss Rachael read to us and more about the games we played on the interactive whiteboard, and the story we listened to on the iPod. And, while I don’t want to ever do away with sitting on the mat to share a story, maybe e-‐Books and technology are okay… after all.
Reflections from “Miss Rachael”, Rachael Hardie, pictured at right with some of her past
References Dell Antonia, K.J. (December 28, 2011). Why Books Are Better Than eBooks for Children. Retrieved March 24, 2012, from http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/28/why-books-are-betterthan-e-books-for-children/?src=tp Finger, G., Russell, G., Jamieson-Proctor, R., & Russell, N. (2007) Transforming learning with ICT: Making it Happen. Frenchs Forest, Australia: Pearson Education Australia. Honormoorman. (2010, June 10). Ebooks How Electronic Books are Changing Our Future [Video file]. Video posted to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Em4Jhf-yMSo Moody, A. K. (2010). Using Electronic Books in the Classroom to Enhance Emergent Literacy Skills in Young Children. Journal of Literacy and Technology, 11(4), 22-52. Retrieved from http://www.literacyandtechnology.com Mussey, S. (2010, December 19). CES - eBooks, Tablets and more! [Video file]. Video posted to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhT3b7Mvkig Pariente, G. (2011, December 12). Paper books vs. eBooks [Video file]. Video posted to Animationhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8D7C9_3RM90 RichardColosiMedia. (2011, April 15). iPad in the Classroom: 1st Graders use iPad/iOS Devices [Video file]. Video posted to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vHJIiTzjtJU SekolahTanpaBatas. (2009, March 7). SMART BOARD – ELEMENTARY EDUCATION [Video file]. Video posted to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCfmJCSAG70 Sniderman, Z. (January 20, 2012). Do Tablet Apps and Ebooks Spell the End of Pop-Up Books? Retrieved March 23, 2012, from http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/01/20/do-tablet-apps-andebooks-spell-the-end-of-pop-up-books.html Thank you to Katrina for compiling our resource list.
Cover page: Blackboard – http://school.discoveryeducation.com/clipart/clip/slate.html Mark A. Hicks, 2012 (image also used on contents page) Page Four: “The Boy who Liked to Read” -‐ http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/more-‐artwork-‐to-‐ encourage-‐read-‐157095?image_id=2898074 (original here -‐ http://www.etsy.com/listing/74526590/the-‐boy-‐who-‐liked-‐to-‐read-‐8x10-‐signed) Life is Like a Dream, 2012 Page Seven: “Children reading books” -‐ http://www.squidoo.com/bring-‐a-‐book-‐baby-‐shower jsoh, 2012 Photo of baby with book -‐ http://ylcf.org/2012/03/beautiful-‐books-‐for-‐your-‐favourite-‐girls/ Danielle Carey, 2012 Page Eight: Little girl with ereader -‐ http://ebooksforipad.net/how-‐to-‐choose-‐ipad-‐ebooks-‐suitable-‐for-‐ kids eBooksforiPad.net, 2010 Parent and daughter with e-‐reader -‐ http://www.thedigitalshift.com/2012/02/k-‐ 12/libraries-‐still-‐an-‐important-‐discovery-‐source-‐for-‐kids-‐books-‐says-‐study/ Huffington Post 2012 Page Thirteen: Image from Rachael Hardie’s personal collection. Used with permission.
We also thank the many early childhood teachers and professionals who shared their opinions with us through questionnaires and discussion. We also recognise authors Mem Fox and Jackie French who also responded and shared their thoughts on Paper vs. Pixels.
online discussion booklet for educators and early childhood specialists, looking the use of e-books in early childhood learning written by U...