Preschool Teacher Practices And Beliefs About Digital Technology Use In Classrooms



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The focus of this dissertation centers around the beliefs that early educationteachers hold regarding the role digital technology plays in the learning and development of young children and how those beliefs are implemented in the classroom. Although there is some previous research on this topic not enough is known about digital technology beliefs and practices at the preschool level. Thus, the focus of this dissertation centers around including the "voices of preschool teachers." Using a mixed methods approach via survey and selected follow-up interviews, 100 preschool teachers expressed their beliefs and practices about digital technology use.Three groupings emerged; one group that favored using technology with young children, one group that favored technology use but with limitations, and a final group that did not see any benefit in using technology with young children. Preschool teachers also related the role technology may play in the learning and development of young children and levels of technology access. Almost all teachers reported that they had access to at least one electronic device; children's access, however, was much more limited. Lived experiences as teachers worked through the COVID-19 pandemic were also reported. Many teachers found that they were able to form better connections with parents and families via an electronic format, often at times that were more convenient for parents to talk. Teachers also reported learning how to use various types of digital technology during the COVID-19 pandemic and they reported continuing to implement what they had learned. Teachers' beliefs about technology use in classrooms by teacher demographics were tested to detect whether there were differences between the three belief groupings. The results indicated that when teachers received technology support they were more likely to have favorable beliefs about technology use.



Early childhood education, Educational technology, COVID-19 Pandemic, Development of Young Children Digital Technology Beliefs, Digital Technology Practices, Early Childhood Education, Preschool teachers