Letters to the Editor | Teachers College Columbia University

Skip to content Skip to main navigation

Letters to the Editor

Opinions, advice and food for thought

Early Math: Net Gain

To the editor,

In his essay “Preschool Math: Why it Adds Up” (TC Today, Spring 2008), TC faculty member Herbert Ginsburg talks about the need to engage preschoolers in learning activities conducive to the development of math skills. Dr. Ginsburg suggests that these activities can even include “teacher-guided projects of complex topics.” His closing statement—“After all, before the Web was invented, no one knew that four-year-olds would be capable of using it”—was actually an opening prompt for me to reflect on the possibilities that even a medium like the Web, which can be thought of as complex for kids at this age level, could be taken advantage of as kids develop early math skills.

As Assistant Professor of Educational Technology at St. John’s University, I have the responsibility to expose my students to a variety of instructional technologies they can later adopt in their practice as classroom teachers. One of the areas that I have to put more effort into is identifying potentially beneficial technologies for early childhood education. My classroom experience was at the middle school level. Therefore, my challenge is to find tools that take advantage of the new possibilities today’s Web offers that are appropriate to this age level.

I recently was trying to take on this challenge by finding videos on the Web that would demonstrate how teachers were using Web technologies for teaching and learning. I found a video on YouTube about Kathy Cassidy, a first grade teacher from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada, whose students create blogs and wikis. Ms. Cassidy was also profiled in schoollibraryjournal.com and edtechtalk.com. Her work supports Dr. Ginsburg’s belief in the capability of young kids to use the Web, specifically in the development of math skills. Hopefully, disseminating the efforts of researchers like Dr. Ginsburg and practitioners like Ms. Cassidy can help demonstrate that this is possible and inspire our early childhood teachers to engage in the development of even complex math skills.

Brenda Lopez Ortiz

Ed.D., Instructional Technology and Media, 2006

Published Friday, Jan. 16, 2009