Information and communication technology in early childhood education: challenges for effective implementation and integration

Hammed, Nada Mohammed Abuouf (2014) Information and communication technology in early childhood education: challenges for effective implementation and integration. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This is the first study in the field of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) integration into Early Childhood Education (ECE) to call upon a blended theoretical framework of Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory, Fullan’s concepts of educational change and complexity theory. In drawing the collected data together within the framework of Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory, a range of linear factors that influence practitioners’ use of ICT in the playroom at the micro-level (teachers’ pedagogical beliefs, confidence, technological pedagogical knowledge); meso-level (local school policy, leadership, support) and macro-level (national ECE curriculum and national ICT policy) were identified.

Currently, structured research into ICT integration in ECE is extremely limited in Saudi Arabia. This thesis addresses this substantial knowledge gap in the practice of ICT integration in Saudi Arabian ECE settings through a collective case study approach of Saudi Arabian programs. According to the literature, Scotland, for some time, has been at the forefront of developing strategies for the integration of ICT into early years. Policy in Scotland has also been supported by a range of literature, studies and reference to ICT use in the curriculum; that have assisted practitioners in making important pedagogical decisions for using ICT in the playroom. For these reasons, Scotland is included in this research as an example that can provide some insights for improvement in the Saudi Arabian context.

Six case studies were used to address the study’s research questions: four in Jeddah city, Saudi Arabia and two in Scotland (located between Glasgow City Council and East Dunbartonshire). As part of the research’s endorsement of a holistic approach, the researcher triangulated multiple research methods (questionnaire, semi-structured interview, playroom observation and documentary analysis) to investigate the status of ICT use in preschool settings and factors that influenced teachers’ ICT practices. The target community was made up of practitioners in ECE settings, including head teachers and practitioners from both private and public preschools.

Research findings suggest that practitioners in both locations hold a positive perspective of the importance of ICT integration into ECE. However, enthusiasm and positive attitudes do not always lead to high levels of ICT integration. In Saudi Arabia in particular, much of the integration is achieved in an informational, teacher-centred/traditionalist manner, rather than encouraging child-centred, constructivist approaches. The results revealed that teachers’ pedagogical beliefs and their relationship to teaching practices strongly influenced integration practices. Furthermore, school characteristics were equally, if not more, influential upon integration levels. In general, in the Saudi ECE sector, the journey to ICT integration is at an initial, unstructured stage and observed attempts at integration are largely the result of practitioners’ individual efforts.

Investigating ICT integration into teaching and learning in the Scottish preschool case studies provides examples of child-centred learning through ICT that suggest ways of integrating ICT fruitfully into the micro-level of the playroom. The Saudi context can benefit from examining these constructivist practices. Scotland is more advanced in ICT integration than Saudi Arabia because it has a policy for ICT integration into ECE; though, in both sectors there exist similar factors that influence practitioners’ approaches to integration at both the micro- and meso-levels (practitioner confidence, ICT-based activity management skills). Practitioners in both contexts hope for the comprehensive improvement of ICT integration, and there is a clear desire for an explicit educational policy for ICT in preschool education and for continuous teacher training.

Overall, this research provides the first detailed picture of Saudi preschool teachers’ ICT practices, perspectives and attitudes toward technology use in ECE and will have the capacity to inform present and future national ECE policy. Furthermore,findings from both case studies provide international stakeholders and practitioners with a series of guidelines for effective ICT integration.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Thesis main focus is in the field of early childhood education.
Keywords: Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Early Childhood Education (ECE), preschool, ICT integration, Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory, Fullan’s concepts of educational change, complexity theory, Saudi Arabia, Scotland.
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Supervisor's Name: Magill, Dr. Jane and Sutherland, Dr. Margaret
Date of Award: 2014
Depositing User: Ms Nada Mohammed Abuouf Hammed
Unique ID: glathesis:2014-4901
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 04 Feb 2014 16:38
Last Modified: 17 Feb 2017 13:27

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