New Toys for Young Children: Integration of Computer Technology into Early Childhood Education
In recent years there has been a dramatic increase in the availability of computers in educational settings. Since the technology became available for all ages, the amount of technology usage increased in early childhood classrooms (Haugland, 1997). Despite of the dramatic increase of computers in early childhood classrooms, there are still arguments about how to use computers in more effective ways so that children receive maximum educational and developmental benefits. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine and to document how teachers used computer technology in their early childhood classrooms. In addition to this question, the sub-questions were: (a) What kinds of technology did teachers use in their classroom? (Computers, software, Internet, multimedia centers) (b) In what kind of activities did teachers use technology? (c) What purposes for technology did teachers report? (c) In what ways did teachers integrate technology into their daily activities? (d) How did teachers facilitate technology usage in their classroom?
This study was completed using the research methods of qualitative inquiry and descriptive case study. Through chain sampling strategy one early childhood education center in Central Pennsylvania area was selected as a participant school in this study. Data were obtained primarily through participant observations, interviews with teachers, and artifact collection. The data analysis consisted of organizing data, coding data, generating categories, themes and patterns, and developing a case.
Analysis of data showed that the teachers struggled to integrate computer technology into their curriculum. The results were focused around three major themes: the purposes of computer integration, the procedures of computer usage, and the improvements that they need in order to better integrate computer technology into their curriculum.