It is a Tool, but not a ‘Must’: Early Childhood Preservice Teachers’ Perceptions of ICT and its Affordances

Year: 2019

Author: Dong, chuanmei, Mertala, Pekka

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

With the ever-diversifying digital landscape of the 21st century, terms such as ‘information and communication technologies’ (ICT), ‘digital media’ and ‘technologies’ are often used to refer to a broad set of digital devices and applications. However, the use of these umbrella-concepts in educational contexts has caused issues when used in conjunction with concepts such as affordances and integration. In this paper, eight Chinese preservice early childhood teachers’ perceptions of ICT and its affordances were explored through online interviews. The research questions are: (1). Which ICT do preservice teachers refer to when they discuss ICT use in preschool? (2). What kinds of affordances do preservice teachers perceive ICT to provide / not to provide? (3). What (contextual) factors have influenced their perceptions of ICT and ICT use? The participants conceptualised ‘ICT’ as screen-based technologies such as interactive whiteboards and computers. These technologies were perceived to afford efficiency and assistance, particularly for teacher-centred practice, but constrain children’s tactile and direct hands-on experience. The results highlight the importance of socio-cultural contexts (e.g. practicum places and educational traditions) in shaping preservice teachers’ perceptions of technology and technology use. Implications for future technology integration research and teacher education are discussed.