Democracy through the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in an Early Childhood Setting: A Case Study
Archard, S. (2012). Democracy through the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in an Early Childhood Setting: A Case Study (Thesis, Master of Education (MEd)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10289/7556
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/7556
ICT is regarded as playing an ever increasing role in the lives of people and this includes young children. This case study, to be called the research project hereafter, focuses on how Information and Communication Technology (ICT) might facilitate democratic child directed learning. This is defined by examining the ways children, and other people involved in their lives as learners, might use ICT as a tool for directing learning and what other features can support this. The research project is a case study involving one early childhood centre and draws upon data over a one year period. The data was collected using interviews with teachers at the centre, questionnaires from family whānau of children currently attending the centre and documentation of learning episodes of children that involved ICT. A qualitative methodology was used to capture experiences, attitudes and opinions of the participants and these were analysed by thematic analysis. The research project identifies the types of uses and purposes that children, their family whānau and their teachers have for ICT. It also identifies and examines the attitudes toward, and impacts of, ICT on the children, family Whānau and teachers taking part in this research project. This is explored by drawing on socio–cultural learning and defined features of democratic education practices. The project also examines ICT contributions to learning and teaching within the pedagogical and professional commitments of Te Whāriki, the Early childhood curriculum in Aotearoa New Zealand ( Ministry of Education, (MoE) 1996). The findings of the research project clearly identify with the literature and educational policy that recognises ICT as prominent and relevant to peoples lives and that includes young children and their learning. The findings also indicate that ICT in early childhood education is positively received by participants in the research project. There are also clear examples in the findings that affirm democratic features of education and reflect aspects of child initiated and directed learning. What supports child initiated and directed learning , and importantly its consistency, is identified in the findings and conclusions that consider the need to develop stronger, more informed and more collaborative pedagogical conversations between teachers and family/whānau. Such pedagogical understandings would have to come from teachers engaging in more ICT policy aligned planning and reflective practice on the place of ICT and their understanding of democratic teaching and learning.
University of Waikato
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