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Posted: September 12th, 2023

What Is the Impact and Use of Mobile Media in Early Childhood Education?

What Is the Impact and Use of Mobile Media in Early Childhood Education?
Mobile media, such as smartphones, tablets, and apps, have become ubiquitous in the lives of young children. They offer new opportunities for learning, communication, and entertainment, but also pose challenges and risks. In this article, we explore the impact and use of mobile media in early childhood education, drawing on recent research and best practices.

One of the main impacts of mobile media is that they enable personalized and adaptive learning for young children. Mobile media can provide immediate feedback, tailor content to the child’s level and interests, and support self-regulation and metacognition skills (Kucirkova & Flewitt, 2018). For example, apps that use artificial intelligence can adjust the difficulty and pace of the tasks according to the child’s performance and preferences. Mobile media can also facilitate collaborative and social learning, as children can share their creations, ideas, and feedback with peers, teachers, and family members through various platforms (Plowman & Stevenson, 2018).

Another impact of mobile media is that they can enhance the quality and diversity of early childhood education. Mobile media can offer access to a wide range of resources, such as digital books, videos, games, and simulations, that can enrich the curriculum and stimulate children’s curiosity and creativity (Rosin et al., 2017). Mobile media can also support the integration of different domains of learning, such as literacy, numeracy, science, art, and music, through multimodal and cross-curricular activities (Kervin et al., 2016). Moreover, mobile media can foster the development of 21st century skills, such as critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, and digital literacy, that are essential for children’s future success (Neumann & Neumann, 2019).

However, the use of mobile media in early childhood education also entails some challenges and risks. One of them is the potential negative impact on children’s health and well-being. Excessive or inappropriate use of mobile media can affect children’s sleep quality, physical activity, attention span, and emotional regulation (Radesky et al., 2016). Mobile media can also expose children to inappropriate or harmful content, such as violence, pornography, or misinformation, that can affect their cognitive and moral development (Livingstone et al., 2017). Therefore, it is important to monitor and limit children’s screen time, as well as to guide them on how to use mobile media safely and responsibly.

Another challenge is the need to ensure equity and quality in the use of mobile media in early childhood education. Not all children have equal access to mobile media devices and services, which can create a digital divide and widen the achievement gap among different groups of learners (Seo & Lee, 2016). Furthermore, not all mobile media apps and content are developmentally appropriate or pedagogically sound for young children. Some apps may be too complex or simplistic for the child’s age or stage of development. Some apps may also contain commercial or ideological messages that may influence children’s values or behaviors (Marsh et al., 2018). Therefore, it is essential to evaluate and select mobile media apps and content based on criteria such as educational value, usability, engagement, diversity,
and ethics.

In conclusion, mobile media have a significant impact and use in early childhood education. They offer new possibilities for personalized,
and diverse learning,
but also require careful consideration of their potential effects on children’s health,
and development.
To make the most of mobile media in early childhood education,
it is important to adopt a balanced
and informed approach,
involving educators,
and children themselves.


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Kucirkova N.,
Messiou K. (eds) Storytelling in Early Childhood: Enriching Language,
and Classroom Culture.
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– Livingstone S., Mascheroni G., Dreier M., Chaudron S., Lagae K. (2017). How parents of young children manage digital devices at home: the role of income, education and parental style. London: EU Kids Online, LSE.
– Marsh J., Kumpulainen K., Nisha B., Velicu A., Blum-Ross A., Hyatt D., Jónsdóttir S.R., Levy R., Little S., Marusteru G., Ólafsdóttir M.E., Sandvik K., Scott F., Thestrup K., Arnseth H.C., Dýrfjörð K., Jornet A., Kjartansdóttir S.H., Pahl K., Pétursdóttir S. (2018). Makerspaces in the early years: a literature review. University of Sheffield: MakEY Project.

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