• Excursus - Tablets in ECEC centres

    It is recommended to purchase tablets for the Kindergarten learners. The tablet is a multifunctional device that can be used to take photos and shoot videos. It also has an integrated microphone for audio recordings, for example to produce your own radio plays, and provides other creative applications and tools. One device is sufficient for a small class of children. For larger classes, though, several devices would be necessary to be purchased.

    Tablets are a child's play to operate. They are wiped, typed and zoomed, and even two-year-olds can use them. Children often know how to use a tablet from home.

    In addition to the arguments in favour of an all-in-one device and easy operation, there are other aspects that are in favour of purchasing tablets in ECEC centres. The devices are space-saving, light, easy to use and flexible. The advantages for media education in ECEC centres are low susceptibility to faults, relatively high robustness of the devices and a battery life of up to 18 hours. For iPad and some Android tablets there are also child-friendly cases made of solid foam, which are equipped with handles and are therefore very easy to be handled by children.

    Together with the children, set up rules of behaviour on how and when the tablet(s) should be used, just as you do when you buy other things in your ECEC centre. Make sure that there are valid licences for your new purchases.

    A basic attitude in dealing with tablets in ECEC centres should be: the devices represent a complementary offer which does not displace other central pedagogical elements but improves and supplements them.

    For example, in the past a picture book was used to prepare for forest exploration, now a corresponding app or Google search is being used. The tablet can then of course be taken into the forest so that plants, animals and traces can be photographed and nature sounds can be recorded.

    When the tablet is used as a deliberate tool in everyday pedagogical work, many creative possibilities open up to complement the previous pedagogical work. When researching and playing with the tablet together, stimulated communication about the contents takes place. The children help each other to master tasks and to understand connections.

    Together with the children, you can produce picture and sound puzzles, light paintings, photo collages and stories, cartoons, radio plays and much more with a tablet.

    The tablet offers numerous media pedagogical possibilities in ECEC centres. The success of the tablet in everyday ECEC centre use depends mainly on the media pedagogical competences of the ECEC professionals and their know-how. Just try it out. How the tablet can be integrated creatively and actively into everyday pedagogical practice is shown, for example, in our practical examples.

    Comprehension Questions

    1. What are some of the advantages of using tablets in an ECEC centre?

    2. What tasks of the children can be supported by tablets?

    3. What different tasks can children perform with a tablet on educational outings?