Teacher Assessment in Technology: Integrated Early Childhood Classrooms

Teacher Assessment in Technology: Integrated Early Childhood Classrooms

Esther Ntuli (Idaho State University, USA) and Lydia Kyei-Blankson (Illinois State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4249-2.ch018
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Abstract

Technology integration in the early childhood curriculum has seen some improvement. Many teachers now report using technology in instruction and providing young children the opportunity to use technology as a learning resource or tool in the classroom. While there has been some development in providing children with technological tools, research shows very little is known about teacher assessment of what young students know and can do with technology. This chapter a) discusses the literature on the role of assessment in education, particularly in technology-integrated early childhood classrooms, b) reveals results from a study that details the extent to which early childhood teachers assess young children’s developmental gains in technology-integrated classrooms, and c) presents recommendations for teacher use of assessment strategies or approaches to document information regarding learning among young children as evidenced by technology use in early childhood education.
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Background

The research on technology use in early childhood classrooms is often centered on the important aspects of child social-emotional, language, physical, and cognitive development (Scoter, Ellis, & Railsback, 2001). Regarding social-emotional development, there have been concerns that computer use may cause social isolation or impede social development (Cordes & Miller, 2000). Current studies indicate that when the software is developmentally appropriate and the technology is used appropriately it can serve as a catalyst for social interaction and conversations among children (Clements & Natsasi, 1993; Lee & O’Rourke, 2006; Nikolopoulou, 2007).

In the case of language development, there are critics such as Cordes and Miller (2000) who do not agree on the importance of technology in oral and written language in early childhood. On the contrary, a 2001 Northwest Regional Education Laboratory (NWREL) report suggests that technology has a place in this environment; language and literacy development are major strengths of technology use with young children through the opportunities and motivation it provides. In terms of physical well-being and motor development, proponents argue that the use of technology allows children to compose and revise text without being distracted by the fine motor aspects of letter formation (Davis & Shade, 1999). Though this is positive, there are concerns that emphasizing the “use of computers in childhood can place children at increased risk for repetitive stress injuries, visual strain, …given the hours they already sit in front of televisions and video games, may contribute to developmental delays in children’s ability to coordinate sensory impressions and movement…” (Cordes & Miller, 2000, p. 20). Data gathered by the Henry Kaiser Family Foundation as part of the Foundation's program on the entertainment media and public health found that on a typical day children ages two to seven years spend an average of 11 minutes using a computer and more than three hours watching television and videos (Roberts, Foehr, Rideout, & Brodien, 1999). However, acknowledging the potential dangers to physical well-being and motor development does not lead Clement and Samara (2003) to discredit the use of computers in early childhood education. Instead they note that the total time spent in front of the screen should be limited.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Young Children: Children birth to eight years.

Early Childhood Education: Instruction in teaching children birth to eight years.

Technology Integration: The incorporation of computer technology into the learning experience as a medium for instruction to enhance and support learning processes across all subject areas.

Technology Assessment: Evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of the technology tools used by students.

Teacher Assessment: The process of gathering information about children’s progress.

Early Childhood Teachers: State licensed teachers working in classroom settings with zero to eight years.

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