40 words each question

  Question:critically reflect on this reading written by Hong, Shaffer and Han, and explain what you have taken from this reading for your future pedagogical practice. Pdf attached

Question: Hall, Cunneen & Cunningham’s article related to Loris Malaguzzi and the Reggio experience explain what you have taken from this reading for your future pedagogical practice: pdf attached

QUESTION:Outline the definition of STEM as portrayed, what is the universal argument for introducing STEM education across all ages?

 

QUESTION: What role do digital technologies play in STEM learning?

Campbell, C., Jobling, W., & Howitt, C. (Eds.). (2018). Science in Early Childhood (3rd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/9781108500142

Use the text below to answer.

The purpose of STEM education in early childhood is to help children to explore and make sense of their world using child-relevant and appropriate contexts. The most appropriate definition of STEM for early childhood education is one that enables learning to remain reflective of children’s interests. A more commonly adopted definition of STEM education for early childhood is: ‘Teaching and learning between/among any two or more of the STEM subject areas and/or between a STEM subject and a non-STEM subject such as the Arts’ (Rosicka, 2016, p. 5). Thus, educators are encouraged to see connections between the different disciplines, but do not have to connect all four disciplines.

 

There are various terms being used in relation to STEM, such as STEM education and STEM curriculum. These different terms can make it confusing to grasp the full meaning of STEM. Literally, STEM is an acronym for science, technology, mathematics and engineering. Practically, the term has been variously interpreted with the science and mathematics components often taking precedence. However, STEM education should actively include technology and engineering. What the ‘T’ for technology pertains to is also contentious. Technology is more than information and communication technology (ICT) or screen technology, a narrow but common focus. While computers, phones and iPads are useful technological tools, there are a myriad of non-digital technologies that are also useful; for example, wheels, gates, backpacks, pencils, lunch boxes and sticky tape (Lindeman & McKendry Anderson, 2015). The ‘technology’ component in STEM also relates to the design process and aligns closely with the recognised engineering process. While engineering, with its roots in problem solving and innovation, is not a formalised part of school curriculum in Australia, including engineering in school and pre-school education is advocated because it incorporates problem solving and is linked to innovation (Bybee, 2010). Engaging children in integrated rather than subject-specific units is said to develop general ‘capabilities that include critical thinking, creativity, communication and self-direction’ (Rosicka, 2016, p. 8). These capabilities are also encapsulated in the EYLF outcomes (DEEWR, 2009). The purpose of STEM education in early childhood is to help children to explore and make sense of their world using child-relevant and appropriate contexts. The most appropriate definition of STEM for early childhood education is one that enables learning to remain reflective of children’s interests. A more commonly adopted definition of STEM education for early childhood is: ‘Teaching and learning between/among any two or more of the STEM subject areas and/or between a STEM subject and a non-STEM subject such as the Arts’ (Rosicka, 2016, p. 5). Thus, educators are encouraged to see connections between the different disciplines, but do not have to connect all four disciplines.

Science, mathematics and technology have been taught to young children as individual disciplines. Given the holistic nature of early childhood education, these disciplines are best taught in an integrated fashion. Engineering and design technology encompass the practical application of science, digital technology and mathematics and provide an authentic context for learning. This means that STEM education fits with the generalist model of early childhood education. In other words, it is appropriate for young children to learn about their world in an integrated rather than discipline-specific way. It is important to note that STEM education is a teaching and learning approach and is not part of the formal curriculum in Australia. STEM education is a way of contextualising learning that ‘removes the traditional barriers separating the four disciplines and integrates them into real-world, rigorous, relevant learning experiences’ (Vasquez, 2015, p. 11). Commencing STEM education in early childhood is argued to be important because early learning of concepts and skills are precursors for school achievement. Introducing STEM education at an early age also aims to counter gender-based stereotypes that affect career choices (Kazakoff, Sullivan & Bers, 2013).

A universal argument for including STEM education across all ages is to facilitate the development of 21st century skills, sometimes called the 4Cs: creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication (P21, 2015).

Question:critically analyse and explain what educational value this app offers and how would you use it in your teaching?

App: bubble level – like a builder’s spirit level that indicates whether a surface is horizontal (this can be introduced to help children evaluate structures they have built to improve their design)

 

In the busy reality of early learning centres or early school classrooms, digital devices are being used in increasingly creative ways to support teaching and learning. The hands-on nature of STEM learning experiences means the digital devices are particularly useful for ‘catching them doing’. Children can also learn with digital technologies and educators are continually finding new ways to do this.

Apps that have been developed for adults, rather than specifically for children, can also be used as stimulus for playful activities. A few examples that could be incorporated into STEM activities includehe purpose of STEM education in early childhood is to help children to explore and make sense of their world using child-relevant and appropriate contexts. The most appropriate definition of STEM for early childhood education is one that enables learning to remain reflective of children’s interests. A more commonly adopted definition of STEM education for early childhood is: ‘Teaching and learning between/among any two or more of the STEM subject areas and/or between a STEM subject and a non-STEM subject such as the Arts’ (Rosicka, 2016, p. 5). Thus, educators are encouraged to see connections between the different disciplines, but do not have to connect all four disciplines. There has been much rhetoric about the need for children to be exposed to computer programming or coding at a young age. Computer programming, the basis of all digital technologies, offers young children another avenue for creativity, plan execution, language development and problem-solving. Research into ‘children’s programming of animations, graphical models, games, and robots with age-appropriate materials allows them to learn and apply core computational thinking concepts’ (Kazakoff, Sullivan & Bers, 2013, p. 246). In the Australian Curriculum: Technologies (ACARA, 2015), computational thinking is distinguished from design thinking, both of which are applied in digital technologies. While computational thinking draws on computing concepts, it is also ‘a type of analytical thinking that can also be found in scientific thinking, mathematics thinking and engineering thinking’ (Fleer, 2016, p. 135).

With the explosion of apps (short for ‘applications’) and recent emphasis on coding, there is a wide range of digital-based educational software designed for pre-schoolers. This presents a challenge for early childhood educators to detemine what constitutes appropriate and effective use of digital technologies. A critical consideration is whether engagement with a digital interface enhances children’s learning over traditional instruction methods. Exemplary use of these technologies is when they enable children to experience learning in ways not previously possible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Question:Outline the role of the learning environment in teaching science, what characteristics of space for example should you consider? How can the values of equity and ethical practice be visible in learning spaces?

Definitions of learning environments range from ‘places for childhood’ (Curtis & Carter, 2003) to ‘the third educator’ (Fraser, 2006) to ‘wherever we are’ (Williams-Siegfredsen, 2012). The definition from the Early Years Learning Framework states:

Learning environments are welcoming spaces when they reflect and enrich the lives and identities of children and families participating in the setting and respond to their interests and needs. Environments that support learning are vibrant and flexible spaces that are responsive to the interests and abilities of each child. They cater for different learning capacities and learning styles and invite children and families to contribute ideas, interests and questions. (DEEWR, 2009, p. 15)

Learning environments are more than the physical space, as they include how time is structured and the roles that adults and children play (Greenman, 2007). Learning environments influence how children feel, think and behave, thus affecting their cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional and physical development. Every environment implies a set of values or beliefs about the people who use that space and the activities that take place within it (Curtis & Carter, 2003).

The learning environment includes both indoor and outdoor aspects. The arrangement of the learning environment is important in providing maximal learning opportunities. This arrangement should consider both space and materials: space to invite open-ended interactions, spontaneity and discovery; and materials to provoke interest, wonder and more complex thinking (Curtis & Carter, 2003). Through the development of appropriate learning environments, educators can assist children to investigate new objects, re-investigate familiar objects from a new perspective and construct new ideas about the world. Children are highly adaptable when it comes to using space creatively to test their own ideas. Educators can assist children through the making of creative spaces and the supply of appropriate materials and resources.

There are five characteristics of space that educators should consider when developing activities inside: flow, size and space, aesthetics, spatial variability and flexibility (Greenman, 2007). Flow refers to entries and exits and how children move from one point to another. It includes corridors between spaces and the routes that children take (planned or unplanned). Size and space refer to the scale of objects and people in the children’s environment. Child-sized equipment and toys allow children to behave competently and to feel empowered. Aesthetics refers to the use of lighting, colours, art and display, texture, nature, sound and smell in the environment. Spatial variety provides children with places to be. These can be places to play in a group or places to be alone. Flexibility allows an environment to be transformed for a variety of uses. This can be done through play spaces at different levels, heights and angles. Large spaces can be turned into small spaces by screens, dividers, materials, boxes and pillows. There are a number of recognised principles (Chaille & Britain, 2003, p. 35) which can be applied when dealing with the physical space of a centre. The physical space should:

allow for good traffic flow and easy movement (children’s free movement encourages them to be independent and to facilitate play across areas and materials)

allow for as much flexibility as possible in the use of the physical space (as children adapt their science play, the learning space should permit them to move things around to enhance this learning)

allow for flexibility in the use of furniture (furniture which is not obviously prescribed for a single task permits children to re-imagine it in a novel way)

encourage children’s self-direction through the accessibility of materials (when materials are easily accessible to children, they are more comfortable and confident to choose for themselves without adult intervention)

encourage creative problem-solving through reciprocity between learning areas (if children can move materials across spaces, their play is fluid and uninterrupted)

Question:In relation to sustainability thinking how have the authors addressed recycled materials?

 

The materials found in an early childhood centre or in the lower classes of primary school usually fit into two categories – commercially available (purchased) or recycled (taken from another place and repurposed). Purchased materials include items bought to achieve a particular outcome, such as wooden or plastic blocks to facilitate construction activities, or plastic dinosaurs to enable play around prehistoric animals. Other purchased materials can be in the form of ‘kits’, such as a farm kit which includes a range of buildings, appropriate animals, tools and characters to make up the farm. In particular, general science equipment can include magnifying lenses, eyedroppers, mirrors, magnets – all of which facilitate science play.

In terms of the recycled materials, there are many types of materials which can facilitate more open-ended science play:

containers – such as plastic (milk cartons) can be used to make terraniums, aquariums and other ‘small animal’ homes

hardware items – such as hosing, plastic pipes and funnels, encourage material movement from one place to another and can be adapted to make musical instruments

flashlights and torches – useful for an introduction to electricity

toys, clocks and other small machines – good for a tinkering table or ‘maker’ space

cardboard containers of all sizes can be adapted to a range of needs – dioramas, animal habitats

pipe cleaners, straws, balloons, paper plates and cups, pieces of fabric – useful for construction activities and for material investigation activities

any item which can be counted or sorted – such as buttons, lids or seeds can facilitate categorising and reasoning

old clothes for dress-up and imaginative role play.

Materials have the possibility to enhance the curriculum. Children constantly use materials to learn about their world, explore their questions and represent their thinking (Curtis & Carter, 2008). Initially, children use materials to learn about their properties, trying to connect with their prior experiences. Once familiar with the materials, children will then use them with a specific purpose in mind. Curtis and Carter (2008) developed seven principles for using materials: select materials using an enhanced view of children (i.e. believe in the capabilities of the children), invent new possibilities for familiar materials, draw on the aesthetic qualities of materials, choose materials that can be transformed, provide real tools and quality materials, supply materials to extend children’s interests, and layer materials to offer complexity.

‘In any environment, both the degree of inventiveness and creativity, and the possibility of discovery, are directly proportional to the number and kinds of variables [materials or loose parts] in it’ (Nicholson, 1972, p. 6). This loose parts theory suggests that when children are presented with a wide range of materials with no defined purpose, they will be more inventive in their play and will have infinite play opportunities for manipulating the materials in ever-changing ways. Loose parts, also known as open-ended materials, are items with no defined use that can be moved, carried, combined, redesigned, lined up and taken apart and put back together in multiple ways. Loose parts have no instructions; rather, they invite children to use their own imagination and creativity and develop their own play scripts. Loose parts can be natural or synthetic and include stones, stumps, sand, gravel, fabric, twigs, wood, pallets, balls, buckets, baskets, crates, boxes, logs, rope, tyres, shells and seedpods.

While loose parts enable creativity and invention, providing materials on their own to children does not necessarily teach scientific concepts. Fleer (2009) reported that where resources are introduced to children within an appropriate scientific framework, or teacher-led interactions are focused on scientific concepts, then science learning has more opportunity to occur. Fleer (2009) also noted that without adult guidance or a ‘scientific framework for using materials in play based context, children will generate their own imaginary often non scientific.