The preschoolers we teach today are digitally literate because they grow up with technology all around them. They know which apps are their games or stories on mom or dad’s phone. They swipe a tablet to read a preschool book, and they turn on the audio to hear the book being read to them. Technology is part of their everyday lives.
How do we incorporate the use of technology in our Mission Friends classes?
Tips for Accessing Online Resources
- If you are not comfortable with technology, ask a parent of a preschooler to help with technology in your class. Use their areas of knowledge about the digital world. This involves them in their preschoolers’ missions experiences too.
- Use suggestions that are occasionally given in Mission Friends Leader for internet searches related to the month’s missions area, such as pictures of California or plants in the Asian Pacific Rim. Always view websites beforehand. Bookmark the site to pull it up easily during your Mission Friends session.
- A word of caution about websites and video sites: Keep preschoolers safe by viewing beforehand for content. Also be aware of the ads and public comments on the site. Make sure these are appropriate and not offensive. Always monitor when preschoolers view websites.
- Follow your church’s guidelines for using technology or media in the classroom for security measures.
- If your Mission Friends classroom does not have internet access, visit a website beforehand and take a screenshot of a page or download pictures to your device to show later in your Mission Friends session.
- Many churches in rural areas have little internet access. Make a visit to a public library or other local spot that offers free public access. Download images or the free Mission Friends downloads to save on your device to use in your Mission Friends sessions.
Ideas for Using Digital Media in Mission Friends
- When showing photos or images on a laptop or tablet, ask questions to lead preschoolers to share their observations about the image. Ask: What is interesting to you about this picture? Do you see something different in this picture?
- Use a voice message app on a phone or tablet to record your preschoolers when learning words in another language in Mission Friends. Play the recording for your preschoolers to hear.
- Use the camera on your phone or tablet to take photos or video of preschoolers during Mission Friends sessions. Always have parental permission before posting photos on social media or websites.
- Take photos of preschoolers’ artwork to make a scrolling slide show for parents to view.
- Have preschoolers dictate a short email message to send to your pastor, a church helper, or a homebound person.
- Use items available in Free Downloads at wmu.com/preschool. Download the “Mission Friends Song” and have a sing-along. Download the free storybooks to a laptop or tablet for preschoolers to read, or print the pages and make them into paper books for your classroom.
by Joye Smith, WMU Preschool Ministry Consultant