Contemporary Perspectives on Science and Technology in Early Childhood Education

Edited by:
Olivia Saracho, University of Maryland
Bernard Spodek, University of Illinois

A volume in the series: Contemporary Perspectives in Early Childhood Education. Editor(s): Olivia Saracho, University of Maryland.

Published 2008

For decades, politicians, businessmen and other leaders have been concerned with the quality of education, including early childhood education, in the United States. While more than 50% of the children between the ages of three and five are enrolled in preschool and kindergarten programs in the United States, no state, federal, or national standards exist for science or technology education in preschool or kindergarten programs. Knowledge about science and technology is an important requirement for all in contemporary society. An increasing number of professions require the use of scientific concepts and technological skills and society as a whole depends on scientific knowledge.

Scientific and technological knowledge should be a part of every individual’s education. There are many ways to enhance young children’s scientific thinking and problem-solving skills as well as their technological abilities. The purpose of this volume is to present a critical analysis of reviews of research on science and technology education in early childhood education. The first part of the volume includes contributions by leading scholars in science, while the second part includes contributions by leading scholars in technology.

Introduction: The Reciprocity between Science and Technology, Olivia N. Saracho and Bernard Spodek. Scientific and Technological Literacy Research: Principles and Practices, Olivia N. Saracho and Bernard Spodek. Early Childhood Science Process Skills: Social and Developmental Considerations, Ithel Jones, Vickie E. Lake, and Miranda Lin. Knowledge Acquisition as Conceptual Change: The Case of a Theory of Biology, Grady J. Venville. Affect and Early Childhood Science Education, Michalinos Zembylas. New Technologies in Early Childhood: Partners in Play? Doris Bergen. Engineers and Storytellers: Using Robotic Manipulatives to Develop Technological Fluency in Early Childhood, Marina S. Bers. Mathematics and Technology: Supporting Learning for Students and Teachers, Douglas H. Clements and Julie Sarama. Vocabulary Learning by Computer in Kindergarten: The Possibilities of Interactive Vocabulary Books, Eliane Segers and Anne Vermeer. A Future Research Agenda for Early Childhood Science and Technology, Olvia N. Saracho and Bernard Spodek. About the Contributors.

"Saracho (Univ. of Maryland) and Spodek (Univ. of Illinois) were motivated by the lack of local, state, national, and professional science and technology curricular standards for early childhood education. They suggest that "from the first day in school, young children must be actively involved in learning about the world scientifically." Chapters include a review of social and developmental considerations for early childhood science process skills, the process of biological knowledge acquisition and change by young children, and the roles of affect in the acts of learning and teaching science. Other chapters review electronically enhanced play, robotic manipulatives to develop technological fluency in early childhood, and computer applications for mathematics, technology, and vocabulary learning. Based on their review of past studies that have found that young children have the capacity to learn theoretically based concepts and use many developmentally appropriate types of screen media, the editors foresee the reorganization of science and technological knowledge for early childhood education. This reorganization includes increased access to inexpensive interactive technologies, new symbol systems, new models for understanding the world, and merging the mathematics, science, technology, early childhood educational practitioners, and the educational equity communities for the benefit of all children. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduate through professional collections." D. L. Stoloff Eastern Connecticut State University

"The editors have done a good job here, not only in collecting a range of work, but in the careful ordering of the chapters to ensure a ‘fl ow’ that makes the book one of those rarities in academic work – one that can be both dipped into and read through from start to finish. Overall this book is a very useful starting place for all students and practitioners involved in Early Childhood Education Studies, especially those who understand that the development of children needs a much broader focus than merely Literacy and Numeracy." Graham Lowe Birmingham City University, UK

"Readers interested in research on young children in the areas of science and technology will find this book helpful." Deborah A. Ceglowski in Education Review