Highs and Lows of Mobile Digital Technology Integration in Kindergarten
This 2-year research study examined 27 kindergarten educators’ professional learning experiences using open-ended tablet applications to support children’s (aged 3–6 years) oral and visual literacy learning. In contrast to typical professional development initiatives, the educators in this study were treated like professionals with control over how the apps would be integrated into their daily pedagogical practice. The research team functioned as technical advisors, observers, and resource providers. Research team members ascertained educators’ levels of confidence, experience, and interests through regular interviews, questionnaires, and biweekly classroom visits. Annual workshops provided opportunities for educators to reflect and share insights. Over the 2 years, the educators experienced a series of highs and lows in response to their particular contexts. While they were initially confident about introducing the apps in their classrooms, technical and environmental challenges soon led to frustration. With time and ongoing support, educators worked through a series of challenges to develop deeper understandings of the technical and pedagogical issues related to digital technology (DT) integration. They came to appreciate the learning and teaching benefits of the apps, which provided them with additional tools to support children as they created, documented, and reflected on their learning. Moreover, the educators began to use the children’s digital work for assessment and planning purposes. This study illustrated how teacher learning in DT integration is complex and nonlinear, with different competencies and needs for support coming to the fore over time.
KeywordsEarly childhood Professional development Literacy Digital technology iPad apps
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