- On February 24, 2015
- In Education
United Way Makes Way for Technology at IBA’s Preschool
Technology in the classroom is a trend that will only increase as the world shifts towards paperless, online, and web-based channels of communication. Studies have shown that children who are not exposed to technology are at a clear disadvantage to those who are. Educators all agree, computer based learning is crucial in early education. Kathleen Nichols, the director of IBA’s Preschool Program stresses the importance of computer literacy, “in an era where going digital has gone from being a catch phrase to an essential way of life, minority groups such as Latinos and Blacks have lagged behind.” Nichols explained that some schools fall prey to “inner city disadvantage,” where lack of resources place children one step behind when it’s time to fulfill workplace expectations. But, IBA’s preschool program is not lagging; thanks to United Way’s donation of three IBM Young Explorer Units, a children’s computer station with educational software. The new computers are being used to strengthen students’ skills in areas of mathematics, literacy, science, and critical thinking as well as facilitating learning English, as many of IBA’s students are learning it as a second language. But, it goes beyond basic development. This is an opportunity to involve parents in their children’s education while having important and relevant conversations about the safe use of technology and about their community. Digital platforms are one of the strongest gateways to address issues such as cultural and gender equity, learning disabilities, physical abilities, and media violence. United Way’s donation replaced three units that were no longer working. Teachers at IBA explained that since the children didn’t have access to working computers, many of them are experiencing a learning curve. All of them agree that this is a positive element, because it teaches students social skills while they master the games: one computer savvy student is placed with one who is learning and they interact with one another, sharing, explaining, and having fun while gaining important knowledge. Miss Myrna, a teacher at the “Cacique” classroom explained that using the computers is part of the school curriculum. She emphasized that computer time has rules, just like any other activity. Students learn the correct way to handle the machine, and to properly invest their time with it. The students are happy to take part in the fifteen minutes that Center Time allows for computers. They each have different favorite games according to their personalities, and even the shiest readily get involved. United Ways’ new computers are certainly making a positive impact on IBA preschoolers. They are engaging and unifying the students; and most importantly they are leveling the playing field when it comes time to go into the school system. IBA extends its gratitude to United Way for helping further our students’ education with technology....