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Role and potential of ICT in early childhood education: A review of New Zealand and international literature

Rachel Bolstad

This review synthesises recent literature about ICT use in early childhood education (ECE). It looks at the role and potential of ICT to support teaching and learning, professional development, sector capability, administration, infrastructure, and information management and communication.

The literature suggests ICT use should be grounded in an understanding of the purposes, practices, and social context of ECE. The literature indicates ways that ICT can support children’s learning, (such as language development and mathematical thinking), including supporting learning for children from diverse cultural or language backgrounds, or with special learning needs. Case studies show practitioners using ICT to:

  • document and assess children’s learning and activities
  • reflect on children’s and educator’s conversations and interactions
  • build learning experiences from children’s interests, ideas, and experiences
  • strengthen and support family involvement in learning.

ICT’s value in ECE appears to depend on the tools selected, and when and how they are used. Literature suggests it is important for practitioners to know how contemporary theories about learning and development can be linked to ICT use, and what practices support this. The implications of the review findings for further development of ICT in New Zealand ECE are discussed, and current gaps in the literature are noted.

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Publication type: 
Literature review
Ministry of Education
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