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

Curricula|Teaching|Elementary education|Educational software

Recommended Citation

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

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