NUITEQ Snowflake is an award-winning educational technology software solution that facilitates distance learning and improves student engagement. Great for empowering educators, reducing lesson planning time, and allowing teachers to personalize their curricula to meet the unique needs of students, Snowflake lesson activities can be sent to students as personalized homework. NUITEQ spoke to Elin Johansson, a Swedish preschool teacher to learn more about the role digital tools play in her teaching.
Q: Which grade(s) and subject(s) do you teach?
A: I teach in Swedish preschool, and currently, I teach a group of children aged 4-6. In preschool, teaching happens in play, planned learning activities and spontaneous learning situations throughout the day. The curriculum includes a wide range of subjects; language development, math, nature and social science and creative subjects. The social field is also an important part of learning in preschool, such as empathy and respect.
Q: How often do you use digital tools in your existing curriculum?
A: From time to time, as a complement to teaching and in different activities.
Q: For what purpose do you use digital tools?
A: I use digital tools for variation in teaching situations and for documentation. For playing music, movies, videos, taking photos and searching information on the internet. I also use digital tools together with the children for the purpose of them learning how to handle digital tools by themselves. In today’s digital society, children already have an understanding of digital tools and must also develop knowledge about digital tools and digitalization. The importance of children obtaining digital skills and abilities has been written in the latest curriculum for the Swedish preschool which shows the significance of digital tools in learning.
Q: How would you rate your comfort level using digital tools?
A: I feel comfortable using digital tools myself, but a bit less comfortable using them while teaching. Conditions vary and resources are limited. I think I would use digital tools more often if we had more of them and if they were more available and easy to use.
Q: Have you seen any changes in student engagement when using educational technology (EdTech) tools?
A: Yes, it is easier to catch their first reaction and initial engagement when we are using digital tools. I think they experience it as somewhat exotic yet familiar, and fun!
Q: How do you deal with personalized learning and meeting different student needs?
A: It's important to consider the best outcomes for each individual and also the best for the group as a whole. Students have different needs but with awareness of these perspectives, together it is beneficial for both the group and the individual. I also ask questions! I’m learning from reflection together with colleagues and through having discussions about situations, dilemmas and successes, both ethical and practical as well as regarding learning processes.
Q: Do you think technology can help with offering personalized teaching and increasing student engagement?
A: Yes! For example, I think digital tools are good for language development and mathematics; and useful for different needs and interests. I think the children experience engagement and meaning with more interactive learning (both digital and analog).
Q: Please describe the perfect digital tool. How would you envision it?
A: One that's easy to use with variation and is useable for both teachers and children together and alone.
Q: Which possibilities do you think technology open up and which obstacles do you foresee?
A: In today's digitalized society, it is important to include digital tools for children to obtain skills for the future. However, I think it is also important to understand that digital tools are complementary to teaching in preschool, and shouldn't replace anything. I'd say an obstacle would be access to digital tools which is limited. It is also of great importance for children to learn to be critical in how they use digital tools and the consequences of their usage.
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