Educational Technology in the Early Years

I am currently studying for a Doctorate in Education (EdD.) at Durham University. My thesis is looking at the use of educational technologies in early years settings. I intend to use this blog to share information about my reading and research in this area.

Exploring Early Years Practitioners’ Understanding of how Educational Technologies can be used to Support Teaching and Learning.

Before getting my research approved I needed to produce a thesis proposal, the key points are summarised below or you can access a pdf version of the full proposal here:  EducationTechnologyinEarlyYearsThesisProposal

Aim and Focus of the Study

The purpose of this research is to investigate early years teachers’ understanding of how educational technologies can support teaching and learning. The aim is to explore the relationship between teachers’ pedagogical beliefs and how they use these technologies.

Why is this important?

There has been substantial investment in educational technologies in schools, with many people believing that technology can have a significant impact on improving teaching and learning. However there is little research evidence to show that it is making a difference. Literature suggests that barriers that were common in the past. e.g. need for more equipment and technical support. are now less of an issue (Bingimlas, 2009; Prestridge, 2012, p. 219). However, technology use is still not as widespread as some would like it to be. If the technology itself is no longer the barrier, it is worth examining the teachers’ role in implementing it. Their attitudes and beliefs may result in it not being used as effectively as it could be. Ertmer describes beliefs as the “final frontier” (2005).

The research will look at the use of technology in the Early Years Foundation Stage. Experience of teaching in the EYFS (3-5 years old) means I have a personal interest and experience to draw on. There has also been relatively little research into the use of ICT in the early years (Plowman & Stephen, 2003).

The intention is not to focus on a single device or method of using technology. The aim is to help teachers to find appropriate uses of technology to support their approach to teaching and learning.

Research Questions

1. To what extent does early years teachers’ use of educational technologies match their pedagogical beliefs?

  • How are early years teachers using educational technologies?
  • What are the pedagogical beliefs of early years teachers?
  • How does their use and their understanding of technology relate to current theories of educational technology use?

2. How can early years teachers be supported to use educational technologies?

  • How would early years teachers like to use educational technologies?
  • Are networks an appropriate route to enable early years teachers to reflect on pedagogy and improve their use of technology?
  • How does this approach to supporting teachers relate to the theories of educational technology use?

Methodology

There will be three phases to the research:

  1. A pilot phase will involve visiting a number of early years settings across the North East of England to interview practitioners about their use of educational technology.
  2. An online questionnaire will be sent out to early years practitioners across the UK to find out what is happening in early years settings now.
  3. An action research phase will involve a small group of early years practitioners working together. These practitioners will investigate how they can develop their use of technology to support teaching and learing.

Ethical Approval

This research has received ethical approval from Durham University.

References

Bingimlas, K. A. (2009). Barriers to the successful integration of ICT in teaching and learning environments: A review of the literature. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science & Technology Education, 5(3), 235-245.

Ertmer, P. A. (2005). Teacher Pedagogical Beliefs: The Final Frontier in our Quest for Technology Integration? Educational Technology Research and Development, 53(4), 25-39.

Plowman, L., & Stephen, C. (2003). A ‘Benign Addition’? Research on ICT and pre-school children. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 19, 149-164.

Prestridge, S. (2012). The beliefs behind the teacher that influences their ICT practices. Computers & Education, 58(1), 449-458.

One Response to Educational Technology in the Early Years

  1. Pingback: Keeping your children safe online | Stampers

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