Kiwi Blend: Blended Learning for Kiwis by Kiwis

Activity 1: Blended Learning in Early Childhood Education


  • Observe and respond to features of blended learning in Early Childhood Education (ECE).


  • consider what shape blended learning takes in the context of ECE
  • appreciate the level of elearning currently happening in ECE
  • realise the challenges of blended learning in ECE are the same as those in other educational sectors
  • understanding the place of Web 2.0 tools in ECE
  • observe how online spaces enable a strong link from ECE centre to home
  • understand the potential impact of the long term effects of computer use at a young age

Before we get started...

Consider your earliest recollections of kindergarten or school (if you can remember back that far!) . Perhaps think back to when your own children attended or if they are currently attending an ECE centre. Or, if you have very young children, take a moment to think about your expectations for them will be as they enter into the ECE sector.
  • What was important to you as a young child at kindy?
  • What are your fondest recollections of attending an ECE centre?
  • What did your own children love about being at an ECE centre?
  • Does the seemingly ubiquitous nature of technology and its use in education alter your view?
  • Does using technology in education and in an ECE environment add to your expectations for your children's early education?
OK, keep those thoughts handy. Read on...

Reading 1: Wii for the wee ones

The following article from Stuff in June of 2010 provides a snapshot of what learning looks like in some ECE centres in NZ. Learning is rich in technology use facilitating social interactions, fine motor skill development and contributing to early literacy and numeracy development.

The purpose of elearning in this context is to "bolster learning and prepare the next generation to use technology in their everyday lives."

After reading the article reflect on your own professional use of technology, particularly if you are currently teaching students. If 3 and 4 year old children are using Skype, blogging and utilising gaming daily for educational purposes, how are you extending and building upon that at your level?

Reading 2: Helping teachers think about technology

In Reading 5 from our course readings booklet, Graham (2006) defines a blended learning system as combining "face-to-face instruction with computer-mediated instruction."

Does this definition fit with ECE? To provide a more informed look at elearning in ECE, the article below Helping teachers think about technology, looks more closely at what pedagogical changes teachers need to action. Sound familiar? A challenge no matter what sector of education you work in.

'Funds of knowledge' is a term used in this article. Reflect upon how often you utilise what students bring to school both from their normal and virtual lives.

Reading sourced from:
Helping teachers think about technology
File Size: 366 kb
File Type: pdf
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Reading 3: ePortfolios at Early Childhood Centres

One of the outcomes of this activity is to consider what shape blended learning takes in the context of ECE.

Embedded below is a spotlight on the use of eportfolios in two ECE centres in New Zealand. This perhaps best captures what blended learning looks like at this level. Learning experiences and conversations are captured using digital technologies, posted online using a variety of Web 2.0 tools and then become a foundation in creating a strong link between the centre and home.

Central to their philosophy is the concept of 'whakawhanaungatanga' – families and extended whānau as partners in their children's education.

How are you using technology to encourage partnerships in learning between the school and home?


Here's what we have covered so far:
  • You have reflected on your own experiences of an ECE centre and if the place of technology alters your view or expectations
  • You have been asked to consider how you use technology in your teaching and learning especially when compared to how ECE are utilising Skype, blogging and gaming.
  • The 2nd reading discussed the changing role of the teacher in ECE centres in order to make full use of technology to think, reflect, create, and collaborate.
  • The role that eportfolios play in celebrating and sharing learning, drawing together the centre and home
We are going to change the direction of the activity and look at two articles that present arguments against young children using technology to the extent it is suggested that they should not be used by children under 9 years of age.

Reading 4: Screens 'damaging young brains'

As you read the next two articles, compare and contrast the positive use of technology described above and the negative effects described below.

Reading 5: Young Children and Screen Time

Concluding Activity: Debate

Does the use of elearning in Early Childhood Education encourage the development of skills for lifelong learning in young children?

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