The Perceptions of Teachers Surrounding the Potential of iPads in Early Childhood Education (ECE)
Qualitative case study is chosen as a method for this research to examine the potential of iPad use in early childhood education from the teachers' perspectives. The researcher utilized a convenience sample of four registered early childhood teachers who agreed to participate in the study. They were using iPads in their classrooms at an early childhood center within a suburb in the Auckland region in New Zealand. The researcher collected the qualitative data via semi-structured interviews by interviewing the four teachers who participated in the study on an individual basis. The interviews included open-ended questions and lasted for less than 60 minutes, depending on the teachers? available time. Inductive analysis was used to analyse the qualitative data gathered in this research.
The findings showed that the early childhood teachers? had clear perceptions about the potential of using the iPad in the early childhood setting. In addition, they had clear perceptions about the benefits of using iPads in an early childhood setting. Their perceptions identified that iPads could be used as an instructional tool, as well as a learning tool, to support both the teachers? practices as well as the children?s learning. The findings also indicated that, according to the teachers, the use of the iPad in the classroom was somewhat challenging. The teachers perceived there are certain issues involved in using the iPad in an early childhood setting. These challenges are mainly related to iPad use and management in the centre. Nevertheless, they agreed that using the iPad is helpful as it provides the opportunity for more independence and democracy in learning. Moreover, the findings indicate that early childhood teachers should re-examine the way children learn and the way in which the early childhood education (ECE) workforce organises their learning environments to include digital devices in a meaningful way.