Lessons Learned about Technology through "the University of Georgia Diigo Project"

Using Diigo to identify, tag, and comment on technology tools for early childhood is one feature of the Creative Activities for Young Children undergraduate class in child development at The University of Georgia. We discuss ways that technology can be used to support children's creative thinking, problem solving, creative expression, and sharing of ideas. Here are some insights we have discovered through experience.

  • "Young" does not automatically mean "tech-savvy." Students in our class vary widely in how comfortable they feel with technology. Some are eager to jump in with both feet, but others are more hesitant and need more encouragement to try the technologies. Working together helped ease some students' anxiety.

  • New technologies can be exciting! The students love some of the new possibilities they have found, and are amazed at the variety of tools that are being developed every day. That enthusiasm will help them be willing to explore ways to use technology tools with young children. There's a lot of great stuff out there!

  • Sharing common tags is useful. The ECETECH group on Diigo uses "techchildren", "techeducators", "techhome", and "techresearch" to identify the audience(s) for each link. The students working on the Diigo project used those tags for the sites they identified and reviewed. Using these tags consistently makes it easier to sort the sites, and has made it possible to use the Diigo group collection to update the Technology and Young Children website.

  • Collaborative work is powerful. Students exploring the same tool have been able to share insights, compare notes, and point out different features about the sites they explore. This "group think" leads to more in-depth information than individuals would be likely to share alone.

  • Be prepared for technologies to change. An update of Diigo three days before the students started their project led to some small glitches in tagging and commenting on sites already bookmarked to the ECETECH group.

  • Start small. The range of technology possibilities can be overwhelming. Assigning each student to choose only one or two sites to review in depth helped each student focus on the possibilities more clearly.