Being both an early childhood teacher and a children's performer means I am very passionate about providing children with the opportunity to engage in rich, meaningful music and movement experiences. I could go on for days about the importance of live singing and real, hands on music interaction, and how I feel the emphasis of ICT and electrical devices in an early childhood setting needs to be greatly reduced if we are to offer children those wonderful multi-sensory experiences.
Now I'm not completely anti-technology for the early years, it really is all about balance. IWBs can fit into an inquiry based program when done thoughtfully and with mindful intent. I've played instrumental music to photography and mini documentaries of incredible scenes of our world and nature up close. I've played classical music set to screen visualisations at quiet reflective time in the afternoons. Every now and then I will play a wonderful musical animation of a favourite storybook to add another layer to the children's learning. A layer upon layer approach can be both spontaneous and intentional, collaborative by following the children's interests, and can take you on a magical journey of discovery.
There is a song on You Tube at the moment that I have heard many teachers play on their IWBs, called "Let's sing a song about colours". It has a delightful folk melody that is lovely to sing and listen to, that's true, but here is my concern - it is very one dimensional, and when teachers press play and let the song sing though every time, well I'm wondering.... "Where is the imput from the child?".
The lyrics, "the grass is green, the pumpkin is orange, the sun is yellow" are sung again and again....but what about when the pumpkin is green or yellow? And what else can be orange??? So I like to sing this song with children, without the IWB, and get them to come up with their own ideas! The most amazing discussions stem from it, about colours, nature, comparing and reflecting, because the experience involves questions for the children to ponder and wonder. You can go really deep into exploring shades of colour and see where the children's investigations takes you!
My point is, an IWB or an iPad is just a tool. Use it sparingly, as an aide, because YOU are the most amazing resource. And when you combine that with the children's imaginations?..... Well that is when the real magic happens!