I know that there will be endless debate about technology in preschool. And I have to say that I am very against the “Plop the kids in front of a screen” method. This has very little benefit (in my opinion).
However I found a very good use for Technology in preschools. It may even save a culture. But I have to start at the beginning for that to make sense. I am Native American. I go back to my reservation every summer for two weeks. I have noticed that our language and stories and many of our ways of life have all but disappeared.
One of our “Grandmothers agreed to be part of a project that uses technology to preserve culture. She told all our old stories to the children at “circle times” and had them recorded. She also spoke of the history she remembered, and the things she used to do, and the foods that were eaten, and the old ways of life.
It was a huge hit! The children loved having someone talk to them, and play music and dance with them, and teach them things. It was fun to have an honorary gramma for two weeks! And Gramma loved being with the children and continuing the old way. In the end we had over 200 videos, photos and voice recordings filled with an almost lost culture. We are now trying to come up with even more ways of using them, maybe having my brother (who designs apps and games) come up with preschool appropriate apps.
What makes this even more important, is that shortly after I left, the honorary Gramma we had died. But she left us the gift of language,culture and a community that very often gets lost in the shuffle.
But there is another benefit of this technology. I can take it back to San Francisco. I can use it to teach my homeless city children about a whole different way of life. I can teach other children the importance of culture. Theirs as well as mine. They can learn about children they have never met. It can show them how to preserve their cultures.