Can iPad’s help a child’s development? Photo: DEverton@illawarramercury.com.au
A study is being conducted at three Queensland kindergartens to examine the educational benefits of iPad use for pre-school children.
Queensland University of Technology researchers are working with children, teachers and parents at three southeast Queensland community kindergartens to examine if the devices can boost creativity, literacy and numeracy levels in young children.
The year long study is taking place at three kindegartens run by The Gowrie Queensland in Caboolture East, Bracken Ridge and Sunnybank.
QUT School of Media, Entertainment, and Creative Arts associate professor Sandra Gattenhof said the kindergartens were chosen because of their socio-economic status in the community.
She said the research focused on the notion of “school readiness.”
“There have been past studies examining young children’s use of iPads and smart phone technology but this is the first to link the use with literacy and numeracy through creative applications,” she said.
“The children will be using apps looking at making artwork, apps looking at puppetry, photography apps and electronic books.
“As part of project the kindergartens are writing a new curriculum. They see it as a long-term project and we are hoping as part of the outcome we will get funding to take the project to regional Queensland.”
Bracken Ridge Kindergarten nominated supervisor Julie O’Toole said iPads have the capacity to engage children.
“I think that as we know, children are exposed to technology at an early age, but some children and families have more contact than others. This project provides equal opportunities for all children,” she said.
“The children have a great capacity to give their attention to the task and have a really good ability to pick up the skills required quickly.
“We’re trying to look at all the ways iPads can compliment all of the rich social play children are involved in and all of the language development they are busy doing at this age.”
Kym Lam San, who has a child in kindergarten, said he saw the advantages in using technology as a learning recourse and would be happy to see it implemented in his son’s kindergarten, as long as it was combined with traditional teaching methods.
“I like the idea of learning from iPads. My kids use educational apps at home,” he said.
“However, I wouldn’t want one over the other. Like anything, I think there needs to be a balance.”