This research explores children’s engagement during interactions with digital and non-digital activities. It focuses on the engagement and behaviours that occur when children interact with these digital and non-digital activities and if children interact differently with them. This work is based on a number of literature and research that investigate children’s learning with digital technology especially iPads such as Aldhafeeri, Palaiologou and Folorunsho, 2016; Couse and Chen, 2010; Disney et al., 2014; Marsh et al, 2005.
A mixed method approach was employed and the design for this research is based on the FraIM: Frameworks for an Integrated Methodology developed by David Plowright (2011). The FraIM is designed to help researchers carry out small scale empirical investigations of educational and social issues using mixed methods. The aim of the framework for this research is to support the integration of quantitative and qualitative methods in this research process to ensure the successful study children’s interactions with digital and non-digital activities. Observations were carried out with children of ages three and four in an early childhood setting using observation checklist (Leavers scale of Involvement and Engagement) and written observation. Consent from participants’ parents and management of the early years setting were granted before embarking on data collection.
Early findings have revealed that iPads can engage children to an extent and that children’s interactions with digital and non-digital activities are similar. Therefore, it may be argued that children may not be engaging differently with digital activities as it has been argued in literature. The findings from this research will highlight any other findings that are of interest and contribute towards the subject of children and iPads in early childhood education.
Aldhafeeri, F., Palaiologou, I., and Folorunsho, A. (2016) Integration of digital technologies into play-based pedagogy in Kuwaiti early childhood education: teachers’ views, attitudes and aptitudes, International Journal of Early Years Education, pp.1-19.
Couse, L.J., and Chen, D.W. (2010) A Tablet Computer for Young Children? Exploring its Viability for Early Childhood Education, Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 43 (1): pp. 75–98.
Plowright, D. (2011) Using mixed methods: Frameworks for an integrated methodology. SAGE Publications: London.
Disney, L., Barnes, A., McDowall, J. and Geng, G. (2013) Observation of children’s engagement when playing iPads, In The 21st International Conference on Computers in Education: pp. 616-621.
Marsh, J., Brooks, G., Hughes, J., Ritchie, L., Roberts, S. and Wright, K. (2005) Digital beginnings: Young people’s use of popular culture, media and new technologies. Sheffield UK: University of Sheffield.