The implementation and integration of information and communication technologies in early childhood education: Teachers’ perspectives
Citation:Pohio, L. (2009). The implementation and integration of information and communication technologies in early childhood education: Teachers’ perspectives. Unpublished thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree of Master of Education, Unitec Institute of Technology, New Zealand.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:http://hdl.handle.net/10652/1301
This study reports on the implementation and integration of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) within Early Childhood Education (ECE) from the perspective of a small group of early childhood teachers. Traditionally the bulk of the literature pertaining to ICT was predominantly focused on the compulsory sector, with any reference to early childhood education reporting on debates surrounding the pros and cons of young children’s use of computers. While much of the current literature provides some valuable information with reference to ICT within the different education sectors, research specifically related to early childhood teachers’ perspectives was relatively limited. Therefore, an investigation such as this would be a timely and useful study to bring to light the responses and views of early childhood teachers in this technologically saturated era, particularly as in recent times there has undoubtedly been a significant increase in the profile and positioning of ICT in ECE. The study adopted a qualitative approach to the research and participant involvement was in the form of questionnaires and focus group discussions with kindergarten teachers. The findings revealed several key themes, firstly the place of ICT in the early childhood teaching and learning environment; secondly the role of the early childhood teacher; the impact of ICT on children’s learning is the third theme; the fourth theme is the benefits and challenges of ICT in the early childhood context and finally sharing understandings and expertise of ICT. The themes are described in chapter four of this thesis. Chapter five discusses these themes in light of the literature, resulting in a number of implications arising from the study. These implications have particular significance for those involved in early childhood education; including children, their families, teachers, professional development providers, teacher education sites, funding providers and policy makers, if the potential for ICT in ECE is to be harnessed in ways that are beneficial for young children’s learning. Recommendations from this study, also argue for further research to be undertaken, alongside recommendations for improving practice as it is increasingly apparent that regardless of their own views, teachers cannot ignore the impact of ICT in their own and children’s lives. Subsequently, in order to understand more critically the influence of ICT, the following recommendations are made. The first recommendation, for future research focuses on the perspectives of children and families in relation to ICT in ECE and whether their experiences mirror or are contrary to the views expressed by teachers. Secondly, an in depth investigation into teachers implementation of ICT to find out how teachers understand, recognise and respond to the increasing visual worlds of young children. The third recommendation, would examine early childhood teacher education students’ perspectives of ICT in ECE. It is concluded therefore, that in order for the implications of ICT in ECE to be fully realised, opportunities for teachers and others to critically engage in the ICT in ECE debate must be afforded. These opportunities must also include, knowing about the nature of technology itself if, informed and conversant decisions about the type of place ICT could have in the teaching and learning opportunities offered to young children, are to be made. The potential, of ICT lies with skilled and knowledgeable teachers who are prepared to explore and investigate these possibilities judiciously. Furthermore, as the findings of this present research assert, the views, understandings and prior experiences held by early childhood teachers towards ICT, can significantly enhance or inhibit the ways in which they subsequently employ and interact with these resources within the early childhood teaching and learning environment.