“We just click!” : ICT from preschool children’s perspectives.
“We just click! ICT from preschool children‟s perspectives” is the title I chose for this master thesis in Early Childhood Education and Care. The first part of the title “We just click!” is a quote from a child interview and indicates the exploratory aspects of children‟s use of digital tools. The second part reflects the aim of the study which was to explore how preschool children experience digital tools in their everyday lives in kindergarten. The study is a qualitative micro-ethnographic study inspired by social constructive theories. The research is based on a triangulation of methods, where participant observations and child interviews were the most significant. A group of five-year-olds in a Norwegian kindergarten were observed over a period of two months. The study shows how children‟s use of digital tools in the kindergarten seemed to be more restricted than other activities, even though multiple digital tools were available and the staff held overall positive attitudes towards technology. The study also indicates a divide between adult initiated digital activities, such as digital photography and the use of Internet, and activities managed mainly by the children themselves, such as the use of computer-games and drawing programs. More adult involvement is called for. Despite environmental restrictions an active use of ICT is documented. The study provides examples on how children created their own digital communities of practice and how skilled peers „scaffold‟ other children‟s learning. It points at ICT in kindergarten as an overall social activity where interaction and communication play an important role. The use of digital tools in relation to pedagogical documentation, creativity, play and learning is discussed in the thesis. Multiple examples of how children expressed themselves in playful and creative ways through digital tools are presented, and similarities between children‟s use of computer-games and their play with dolls and figures are indicated. Further the study shows how children seemed to gain digital skills mainly through exploratory play in interaction with peers. The study provides many good examples of children demonstrating well developed skills and knowledge in their use of digital tools. It does however also indicate significant individual differences among the children, both when it comes to access and use. The question is raised whether or not the use of digital tools in kindergartens may contribute to decrease these patterns of divide.
Hansen, Liv Inger