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Many researchers have considered the role of technology in the early childhood years as a very controversial concept because some of them believed that the young children don’t need technology to promote their learning in their early years whereas some of them believe that the technology play a positive role in enhancing the learning and development of a child in their early years. According to the views of Blasco-Arcas et al. (2013) the advanced technology can help the children in their early years to grow and learn by the ways of exploring new worlds actively and engaging in the educational activities through fun and challenges. The research has indicated that 90% of the early childhood teachers and parents use different technological devices such as computers, whiteboards and tablets for enhancing the learning and teaching environment. Akçay?r and Akçay?r (2017) reflected that using the technologies in the early years of children helps them to develop strong relationships with the teachers and they are able to better connect with them over the subjects that are being discussed in their classrooms.
As per the views of Wu et al. (2013) many of the parents handover their mobile phones, tablets or other technological devices to their young children for enhancing their learning through various entertaining videos on different digital media platforms such as YouTube. Children, in their early ages; are able to learn about advanced concepts and gain immense knowledge by watching different kinds of entertaining videos and playing games on the internet. By supporting these views, Tess (2013) researched that the creation of educational and learning content for children has been transformed by the technology because they can interact with words and letters by dragging letters by themselves around the screen and hearing different sounds that speak letters and other learning words. Technology allows children to learn anything including the names of animals their characteristics and thereby enhances their learning within the deeper context.
Based on the research conducted by Davies et al. (2013) most of the students enjoy playing educational games on the electronic devices where they don’t realize that the more they play; the more they learn. Educational games enhance the learning process and knowledge of children. The software can also be downloaded on the electronic devices such as the digital textbooks and voice software that will automatically read the sections of the books for the children. By using this technological software, children can learn to speak and write different words with difficult pronunciation and thereby their learning abilities get embraced. In addition to this, Delgado et al. (2015) further identified some other ways in which the technology can be used in promoting learning among children in their early childhood and teaching websites is one of those ways. By using this technological site, the teachers can get connected with the children and learning can be embraced via messages and discussion boards. Teachers can also engage students by connecting them over video calls and forming groups of children for completing the group assignments which could eventually develop social skills among them. The word processing software is also another effective way that can be used by children for promoting their learning where they can make their small academic projects, develop reports and improve their communication skills. In all these ways, technology is being considered as the most widely used weapon by children for promoting the learning and education.
Based on the researched perspectives of Adedoyin and Soykan (2020) it has been founded that many teachers as well as the parents make crucial efforts to develop knowledge and confidence among the children while promoting the learning through using technology in their early years of age. Ensuring the appropriate, intentional and productive use of technology among the young children brings crucial challenges for the parents and the teachers. The first issue or challenge which might be faced or encountered while promoting the learning and knowledge among the children during their early years while using the technology include the negative impact on their attitude or behaviour. Technology can cause various social and behavioural problems among the children because the increased use of technology can significantly reduce the quality amount of time to be spent by the parents with their kids. Hadwin et al. (2017) linked this particular challenge of changing behaviour of children with the social learning theory of Bandura who believed that the reinforcement and conditioning process could not explain all of the human learning sufficiently. According to this theory, children’s behaviours can be learnt through modelling and observation. Observation plays an important and critical role in learning as the children observe their parents and behave accordingly. For example, apart from learning and gaining knowledge through the technology they switch to other digital applications after observing their parents or any other adult in their families which might negatively impact their behaviour adversely.
As per the views of Fu (2013) the excess use of technology could result into relationship and social skill issues among the children in their early years as they could become addicted of using the technological devices and more likely to be virtually connected. By supporting these challenges, Archibald et al. (2019) further demonstrated and identified other issues related to children’s health because the limited use of technology for promoting the learning could result into rapid and increased use of technology due to which their physical activities can be reduced and they might face various health problems related to the weight gain, laziness, recurring headaches, poor posture of sitting, constant pain in neck, etc. The excessive use of technology for promoting the learning among children can eliminate many of their good habits such as reading of the books, playing outdoor games and paying attention in their classrooms. It might get difficult for the parents and the teachers to promote learning and education among the children in their early ages in the long run as the children may get addicted of learning through entertaining videos and games due to which they might feel boring while learning through books and random discussions in the classrooms.
Barnard et al. (2013) discussed about another major concern or challenge for the children regarding the use of technology for promoting their learning which include the level of isolation due to which the children might get detached from the world and they don’t feel like playing with their toys or playing with their friends and only work to on the privilege of using their new technologies or electronic devices. Children might lose their ability of dealing with boredom and this kind of addiction results into the increased dependency for their learning and education on the electronic devices due to which the learning might get difficult in the classroom for the kids. The continuous learning through technology can increase the level of frustration among the children and they might get surrounded by negative choices. In addition to these views, Ibáñez et al. (2014) further researched that the ability of children to maintain and develop conversations with their peers can get hampered and most of the times they don’t feel like expressing their emotions to their parents teachers and friends which eventually leads them towards the phase of deep depression. Other than all these challenges children might also lose the level of patience as rapidly as they increase the use of technology for enhancing their learning. The use of various electronic devices enables the children to get everything in one click but this thing is not possible in their real lives. When the children are not able to get whatever they want in their real life they become frustrated, upset and sad.
According to the opinions of Blackwell et al. (2014) the use of technology enables the early childhood educators to have unlimited access to the newer and innovative teaching methods through which an active, interactive and innovative learning environment can be facilitated for the young students or children. The first and the most foremost benefit that can be attained by the children by using technology for promoting their learning is that their social and emotional development could get greatly supported. The social skills of children can be improved when they would learn to work and learn together by sharing ideas with other children, viewing educational content on different digital applications and completing other online activities.
Flewitt et al. (2015) identified another major benefit of using technology which includes greater level of encouragement among children of following the multi-step directions. For example, they would tend to learn the steps of operating technological devices such as turning on and off the electronic devices, selecting items on the screen and swiping left to right. In order to understand the behaviour of children while using the technology, the Piaget’s cognitive developmental theory is applied which is mainly concerned with the development of children’s thought processes. The thought process of children influence the way of understanding and interacting with the world. By understanding the behaviour of children in their early ages, Piaget had categorised the understanding of children’s behaviour into two stages including the pre-operational stage and concrete operational stage (Riddell et al., 2014). The pre-operational stage include the children of ages two and six years and under the stage the children are able to learn different languages through the technology but they resists the understanding of concrete logic and therefore they are not able to understand the point of view of other people and not have the power of mentally manipulating the information. According to Akçay?r and Akçay?r (2017) the concrete operational stage which involve the children between ages 7 to 11 years; is closely linked with their learning development by using the newly advanced technologies because during this stage the children possess better understanding of the mental operations. Under this stage, the children could gain immense knowledge and understanding about their educational concepts through technological devices. The children under this stage possess less risk of getting their behaviours affected by technologies because they have the ability of thinking logically about concrete events; but struggle in understanding the abstract or hypothetical concepts.
In the words of Blasco-Arcas et al. (2013) the technology has greatly helped in keeping the teaching and learning alive among the young children during the phase of Covid-19 when the schools were shutdown. By making use of the technological devices, children were able to learn numbers, counting, sounds, colours, letters, etc. Even by not visiting the schools, the children were able to learn the basic academic skills through using technology and develop strong relations with their educators. Singh et al. (2016) discussed that this concept of developing and strengthening relationships between children and educators can be made understood by the theory of Bowlby’s attachment that had focused on researching on the social development of children. Bowlby believed that a major role is being played by the stronger relationships in the child development as the children tend to feel attachments with their tutors and mentors that can be characterized by significant motivational and behavioural patterns. The use of technology has therefore helped in developing and maintaining significant relationships between children and their educators. According to the perspectives of Martín-Gutiérrez et al. (2017) many children do not like visiting their schools and learning; instead they enjoy their learning process through using technology. Technology makes the learning process a very enjoyable process for children and they tend to learn new lessons through interactive sessions on different digital applications. A lot of fun and innovative activities are being offered by technology to the children by which they could learn via technologies instead of reading books or attending classes in their schools.
It is important to choose the right and suitable research methodologies for carrying out the research project in the suitable and appropriate manner. This section will include the discussion of the reliable research methods that have been chosen and adopted for carrying out the research and conducting the in-depth literature review. The section will further include a reflective journal along with the identification of limitations that might create hurdles during the research process.
Some significant and trending research approaches have been used for carrying out the in-depth literature review. Some recently published, authentic as well as the reliable journal articles have been identified and chosen so that the data and information can be gathered about the recent trends in technologies with respect to the education and learning among students in their early childhood years. While searching for the reliable journal articles, some key words have been used such as the impact of technologies on the education and learning of students; impact of digital technologies on the students’ learning in their early childhood, challenges in using technologies for the early childhood education and strategies to be adopted for providing better learning to the students by using the recent advanced technologies (Rosenthal, 2016).
Apart from using the appropriate keywords; some other key factors have also been taken consideration such as the reliability of the chosen journal articles, background of the authors, credentials of the researcher, quality content and information in those articles and the overall validity of the journal articles. All these factors have helped in choosing the most reliable and authentic journal articles by which the literature review was conducted by involving the relevant data and information (Ioannidis et al., 2014).
Some key criteria have been considered while selecting the genuine sources for data collection which include the purpose of the sources, authority, relevance and accuracy. The correctness, reliability and truthfulness of the information contained in the sources have been demonstrated and it has been made sure that whether the purpose of the source has met the needs and requirements of the research project or not. The language is another criteria that was considered to make sure that all the readers can easily understand the outcomes and in-depth information contained in the research project without any kind of difficulties (Rosenthal, 2016).
While conducting the literature review, some key research strategies were adopted including the planning, reading and research and analysis. The planning strategy has helped in reviewing the scope of the sources; the research strategy has helped in collecting the reliable data about recent technological trends and the analysing strategy has helped in summarizing, synthesising and comparing the sources with each other to provide evidence about the research topic. All the sources including journal articles, e-books, online website’s articles, etc. have been critically reviewed and the text has been cited through proper in-text citations. While reviewing the journal articles, the abstract is read properly and the research outcomes have been evaluated for gaining immense understanding and knowledge about each article (Ioannidis et al., 2014).
I have found all the applied and implemented research strategies very useful and highly supportive because they have greatly helped in conducting the section of literature review with better understanding. I have not only been able to gain immense knowledge about the current trends of technologies in embracing the early childhood education; but also been able to reflect the ideas with proper evidence through in-text citations. The strategy of literature review has helped me in understanding all the associated aspects of the research topic such as the importance of using technologies in providing learning to the students; challenges that could be faced while using technologies for embracing students’ learning and strategies that might be used for using the technologies in the right manner (Cinelli et al., 2014). The clear and in-depth understanding of all these aspects has helped me in getting closely engaged with the research topic. Another major limitation includes the lack of understanding and experience in collecting the primary data due to which the extent of gathering the reliable and fresh information has got limited.
The secondary source of information has been collected for carrying out this research project and for conducting the detailed review of literature. For gathering the secondary data, some reliable and authentic secondary sources were considered including the peer-reviewed journal articles, recently published e-books and other articles that have been uploaded at different online websites. By reviewing, reading, analysing and evaluating all these secondary sources; the reliable and authentic information has been gathered. While collecting the data, it has been made sure that those articles have got selected that must have been published and written after the year 2015 in order to collect the information about recent trends and patterns of the digital technologies within the context of the students’ learning and education (Aromataris et al., 2015).
The qualitative data has been collected and for this purpose; different feelings and experiences of the students while learning and getting educated through technologies have been demonstrated; the relationships between teachers and students have also been identified while learning through technologies and the cultural or social practices were also been considered significantly. Therefore, the collection of qualitative data has greatly helped in conducting the systematic literature review along with including all the minute details about the aspects that are associated with the research topic (Cinelli et al., 2014).
For analysing the data and information based on the conducted literature review; the method of qualitative analysis has been adopted to discuss and explore the research outcomes in the form of detailed text, documents, etc. While analysing the collected data, the comparison is made between various authors’ views and opinions and their personal experiences have also been taken into consideration for gaining the overall understanding. The research findings have been explored and summarized with respect to the information and discussion contained within the section of literature review. Through this method, some key aspects have been highlighted that must be considered by the teachers while providing the learning to their students through digital technologies (Snyder, 2019).
I have learned a lot of things while performing this research project such as critically reading the reliable journal articles, reviewing the authentic information contained in various journal articles, conducting literature review, determining the validity and reliability of the sources, collecting the secondary data, applying the suitable research methodologies and many more. I have further gathered learning about some of the research limitations such as lack of experience of collecting primary data. I have therefore realized that it is very important to possess the knowledge about collecting the primary data through surveys, interviews or any other mode so that fresh data can be collected. This research project has enabled me to learn about various research strategies that could be adopted according to the needs and requirements of the research project (Snyder, 2019).
It can be summarized that the suitable research methodologies should be applied according to the aims and objectives of the research project so that the standard alignment can be ensured. In this section, the discussion has been made for different research methods that have been applied for carrying out the literature review and the entire research project. Some suitable research approaches and research strategies have been identified such as considering the recent information about technological trends; determining authority and background of the authors, etc.
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