Tapping Into Technology
Connecting Children, Teachers and Families in the Digital Age
In this digital age, technology is all around us. Children may be exposed to computers, tablets, television, video games, smart phones, apps (application software), and other technology in many environments including at home, in early care and education programs, schools and in other community settings.
According to a 2014 Rand Policy Brief, digital literacy, the ability to “analyze, learn and explore” with technology, may soon be considered an aspect of school readiness.
Educators and families often receive mixed messages about the use of media and its impact on children. It can sometimes be confusing to determine when and how best to introduce and support children’s use of technology and digital media.
A growing body of research is beginning to identify best practices and useful strategies to help educators and families tap into media and technology that can support children’s development. In her book “Screen Time: How Electronic Media Affects Your Young Child,” author Lisa Guernsey highlights the importance of the three Cs – Content, Context, and the Child – when making decisions about using technology with children.
- Content – the media is appropriate and engaging
- Context – the child is exploring media with, or near, a caring adult who can help the child make the best use of the specific technology experience
- Child – adults will want to consider the social maturity and temperament of the individual child
This approach helps educators and families make informed decisions about screen time and digital media with young children.
This booklet is designed to help you use digital technology with children ages two through eight in an educational, engaging and enjoyable way. We have compiled an array of useful tips and will periodically update the online version of this resource so that it reflects the most current findings.
Table of Contents
This booklet, developed in partnership with Fairfax County Office for Children, was made possible through a generous grant from the PNC Foundation. It includes ideas to meld technology and digital media into educational opportunities and successful learning experiences.
In this booklet, there is a Glossary to help define current technology terms as well as a Resource List that can be used to tap additional helpful information. If you do not have direct access to technology at home or in your early care and education program or classroom, the resource list includes other places where you can access technology in your community.
Working in partnership with families, as well as early care and education professionals, we are laying the foundation for children’s success and creating possibilities for many bright futures.
For More Information
Tapping into Technology: Connecting Children, Teachers, and Families in the Digital Age is made possible through the generous support of the PNC Foundation.
* Fairfax County is committed to nondiscrimination in all county programs, services and activities. To request reasonable accommodations or to receive this information in an alternate format, call 703-324-8100 or TTY 711.