The study “A Tablet Computer for Young Children? Exploring its Viability for Early Childhood Education” by Couse and Chen explores the possibility of using tablet computers to teach children from young ages. Researchers conducted their inquiry using 41 children who were between the ages of three and six years and tried to establish how fast the subjects would acclimate to the tablet technology.
What is the Problem Statement of the Article?
In their study, Couse and Chen (2010) argue that technology is becoming a vital learning tool especially for helping young children develop social, linguistic and cognitive skills. For schools to reap the full benefits of technology in learning, it is necessary that they keep up with the latest inventions. The key problem for Couse and Chen is whether tablet technology and stylus-interfaced devices can be effective in introducing preschool curricula with young children.
What is the Significance of the Research?
Couse and Chen (2010) point out that there has been extensive research into the use of technology by children to boost their learning. When taught using computers, children have shown higher levels of intelligence, improved language skills and better problem solving abilities. However, research into the use of technology in the preschool curriculum has been limited (Couse and Chen, 2010). The results showed that when applied in the preschool curriculum, computers provided young children with a new medium to project their thinking. Tablets, however, have only been introduced into high schools where they have had positive effects on the learners (Couse and Chen, 2010). The study by Couse and Chen is, therefore, very important because it explores a field that is largely untouched. This study can help identify how useful stylus-based interfaces can be when developing the skills of young children. It can also help to point out the different ways in which educators can use the new technologies to implement the preschool curriculum.
How Adequate are the Research Methods?
The methodology used for this research was rigorous. The researchers used a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods for this study. For the quantitative aspects, the researchers used the child as the primary unit of analysis. The children picked were between the ages of three and six and the researchers ensured that all racial demographics in the United States had representation. Additionally, the children were picked from households where they had had some amount of exposure to computers (Couse and Chen, 2010). For minimal interference with the results, the children could not use stylus-interfaced devices at home and they were only involved in the study for a total of six weeks. This limited period of the study made sure that the children’s natural development and growth did not affect the results (Couse and Chen, 2010). With all this in mind, the researchers appear to have covered all of their bases and accounted for almost all of the possibilities.
Is the Outcome of the Research Convincing?
The findings of the study revealed that the use of tablet devices helped the children become more interested in handwriting. This was consistent with results from earlier studies that were exploring the same issue (Couse and Chen, 2010). The study also found that the children became better at using the devices the more they used them. If used properly by the teachers, tablet devices were seen to be a very helpful tool in applying preschool curriculum. The researchers were quick to point out, however, that despite the positive results, the research was limited because it lacked an empirical outlook on the issue (Couse and Chen, 2010). Overall, the results of the study were convincing. The researchers conducted the study in an orderly manner and they were exhaustive. Their findings shed light on an area that had been explored only lightly in the past and it is likely that this study will open the door to a completely new field of research.
Couse, L. J. and Chen, D. W. (2010). A tablet computer for young children? Exploring its viability for early childhood education. Journal of Research in Technology in Education, 43(1), 75-98.
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