Early childhood education information communication technology professional learning (ECE ICT PL)

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Fifty-six early childhood educators investigated particular aspects of e-learning. At the end of the project the centres involved wrote a reflective report that demonstrated how a range of ICTs had been utilised to improve learning outcomes for children, communities and teachers in an early childhood education setting. At three points during the project (the beginning, the mid-point and the end of the project), teachers were surveyed about their e-learning practices and the data was analysed to compare the changes in teachers and services eLearning practices over time.

Key findings: 
  • Increased ICT capability – once teachers understood the value of utilising ICTs for learning and had increased their own capabilities with the technologies, they were able to incorporate their new expertise into the curriculum. Over time the teachers also developed confidence and encouraged the children to increase their usage of the available equipment. There was evidence across all of the centres of children’s increased capability in using ICTs and the children largely chose the activities that they wanted to be involved in.
  • Transformation of pedagogical practice that leads to an enhanced community of practice – a shift in power relations transformed teachers’ practice, and children were given the autonomy to lead their own learning. A number of teachers indicated that they had made changes to the way that they interacted with children, the teachers listened more and were less directive, allowing children the opportunity to voice their ideas and thoughts.
  • Enhanced learning outcomes for children – ICT tools were regularly used to enhance children’s learning experiences through the diverse learning opportunities that they provided. ICTs provided methods that helped the children to become more engaged and enabled them to consider their existing interests in new ways. Literacy, in particular, was an area that saw significant enhancement in the ways that children were able to engage with and develop their literacy skills.

Publications
Hatherly, A. (2009), ICT and the greatest technology: A teacher’s mind. Early Childhood Folio, 13, 7-11