Date of Award

Summer 7-24-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Barbara Hill

Second Advisor

Dr. Trevor Turner

Third Advisor

Dr. Darrell Groves

Abstract

The life of a child has completely transitioned from analogue to digital in the past 20 years. The use of digital devices and media has tripled among children between the ages of 0-8 years old since 2011. With the increasing amount of internet access in places that children and families frequent, it is almost impossible to go anywhere without the Wi-Fi access information being made available to consumers to enjoy while they patronize the business. Educators are in a unique position to find creative ways to incorporate technology into their instruction; however, this nuance is not without its challenges. Many early learning programs have not incorporated technology into their programs for a variety of reasons such as, but not limited to: lack of funding, fear, and the belief that it is not developmentally appropriate. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and The Fred Rogers Center drafted a joint statement that provided a framework for early childhood educators to use as they introduced technology and digital media into their learning environments. The researcher of this study conducted a mixed methods study with three diverse early learning programs in the southeastern part of the United States. After examining the aforementioned variables, the researcher found there to be no difference in the technology usage rate among the three schools. The findings also indicated that two out of the three schools were better equipped than the other with technology and access to digital media. Despite several of the survey participants having said that they had not received training on how to use digital devices for instructional purposes, an overwhelming 92% of them admitted to using technology for daily task completion. The researcher was not able to collect sufficient data to answer the question about parental influence. However, the researcher has identified this variable as an area for future research and believes that further examination will yield thought-provoking results regarding parental influence.