The effect of using the computer as a learning tool in a kindergarten curriculum

Shirley A Meckes, Salve Regina University

Abstract

This study examines first whether computer-assisted instruction, as distinct from teacher-only instruction, can benefit young children's readiness for learning. Second, it attempts to determine whether the computer can be made a meaningful tool in an early childhood curriculum, specifically in kindergarten teaching. Next, it seeks to achieve a clearer understanding of technology's influence on young children's education. Finally, it considers technology's role in modern society. ^ The primary means of investigating these questions was a study in which three successive kindergarten groups totaling 82 pupils were assessed utilizing qualitative and quantitative instruments. Each kindergarten class was randomly divided. The control group used only traditional teacher-guided instruction, with no computer usage, as its method of learning. The experimental group was taught using computer-assisted instruction as the primary means of learning. ^ The qualitative feedback was derived from a behavioral survey process that assessed how these sets of pupils felt about their method of instruction, and the results were compared using a rubric scale. Further, the Metropolitan Readiness Test I used as a pre-test and version II of this instrument administered as a post-test, provided quantitative results. Again, results were compared to determine whether, and to what degree, using computer technology at school affects young children's learning. ^ Qualitative data results indicate that these children generally favored learning through teacher-guided instruction. Quantitative results for kindergarten readiness skills showed that children who received teacher-guided instruction generally scored higher than those in the computer-assisted group. ^ Results from these two methods of research reveal that, though both sets of pupils (teacher-guided and computer-assisted) had generally positive experiences, those of the control group (teacher-directed pupils) were stronger. The results of this study indicate that computer-assisted instruction, as distinct from teacher-directed instruction, does not significantly improve kindergarten children's learning of preparatory skills. The results also confirm that, when used as a supplementary classroom activity, computer-aided instruction can be of assistance in the learning process. ^

Subject Area

Education, Elementary|Education, Technology of|Education, Curriculum and Instruction

Recommended Citation

Meckes, Shirley A, "The effect of using the computer as a learning tool in a kindergarten curriculum" (2004). Doctoral Dissertations (Off Campus access). AAI3129416.
http://digitalcommons.salve.edu/dissertations/AAI3129416

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