Educational Technology Research and Development

, Volume 65, Issue 5, pp 1153–1174 | Cite as

Technology versus teachers in the early literacy classroom: an investigation of the effectiveness of the Istation integrated learning system

  • Rebecca S. PutmanEmail author
Research Article


Guided by Vygotsky’s social learning theory, this study reports a 24-week investigation on whether regular use of Istation®, an integrated learning system used by approximately 4 million students in the United States, had an effect on the early literacy achievement of children in twelve kindergarten classrooms. A mixed-method, quasi-experimental design was constructed using propensity scores. Also investigated were the effects of the level of teacher literacy support on early literacy achievement and the interaction between Istation® use and the level of teacher literacy support. A descriptive discriminant analysis was performed to determine the main effect of Istation®. The level of teacher support and the interaction effect was then tested using a multivariate between-subject analysis. Results indicated that Istation® did have a statistically significant effect on the early literacy skills of the kindergarten students studied and could explain 17.7% of the variance in group differences. Teacher literacy support and the interaction between teacher support and Istation® were not significant. This study considers the relationship between technology and early literacy and concludes that Istation® can serve as a more knowledgeable other as students develop some early literacy skills; however, teachers are still needed to provide complete literacy instruction for young students.


Early literacy Integrated learning systems Educational technology Propensity scores Istation 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that she has no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Association for Educational Communications and Technology 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of EducationTarleton State UniversityFort WorthUSA

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