Sailitofa: Samoan-born teachers’ perspectives of ICT in Aoga Amata
The rapid growth of information communication technology (ICT) is evident in our society today. Few studies in early childhood education (ECE) have been accumulated to explore the relevancy in the integration of ICT in ECE. The notion of ICT in Aoga Amata (Samoan early childhood centres) has created tension, yet there is minimal study conducted to inform decision making when implementing ICT in Aoga Amata programmes. This study contributes by exploring Samoan-born teachers’ perspectives and their application of (ICT) in Aoga Amata. The research approach is drawn from Samoan knowledge sailitofa, a concept that encompasses Samoan values and ethical approaches to collective and collaborative learning. The methodology is qualitative, specifically talanoa, and soalaupule, drawing extensively from Samoan language and culture to understand the perspectives of Samoan-born teachers. The use of talanoa and soalaupule groups captured participants’ narratives and their consensus about the purpose of ICT in Aoga Amata. The findings emphasised the notion of ethical approaches and the need to develop relevant Samoan language for ICT, and centre policies to guide practices when integrating ICT into any aspects of Aoga Amata. Teachers perceived ICT as a useful tool for programme planning, creating Samoan resources, conducting further studies with children on particular interest topics, and for connecting with families and community in a regular manner. The findings also highlighted that teachers are keen to integrate ICT in their programme but were hindered by several obstacles such as availability of ICT tools, the running cost of updating and maintenance, lack of support, lack of Samoan words for uses and functions of ICT tools and the inadequate professional development to build ICT knowledge and skills for effective integration. In conclusion the findings further highlighted the need for future studies capturing the perspectives of parents as well as the governance and management for they influence decision making and effective integration of ICT in Aoga Amata.