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Technological Knowledge in Early Childhood Education: Provision by staff of learning oppor­tunities
Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication. (Matematikens, naturvetenskapens och teknikens didaktik)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4559-3500
(English)In: International journal of technology and design education, ISSN 0957-7572, E-ISSN 1573-1804Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Developments in early childhood education (ECE) over the last two decades have for many countries meant a change towards a more subject-oriented pedagogy in which preschool staff are commissioned to teach technology to young children. This has been proved to be a challenge to the staff. Through analysis of activities at two preschool units, this study shows how technology education can be provided in ECE, and what kind of knowledge-learning by children can be facilitated in different activities and depending on the actions of the staff. An ethnographically inspired perspective was employed, using methods such as participant observation and formal and informal interviews, in order to investigate the technological knowledge encouraged by the staff at two preschool units in Sweden. The results show that staff promote children’s learning of a variety of technological content, mainly relating to technological objects and creative processes. This range from simple knowledge of how to handle a knife or a pair of scissors to more complex knowledge of how to build something to be fit for purpose and how different tools or materials are more or less adequate for a specific activity or design. The result also show that the way in which the staff address these contents effect which abilities and skills children are promoted to develop.

Keywords [en]
Technology education, technological knowledge, early childhood education, preschool, preschool teacher, preschool staff
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Didactics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-42875DOI: 10.1007/s10798-019-09500-0OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-42875DiVA, id: diva2:1294300
Available from: 2019-03-07 Created: 2019-03-07 Last updated: 2019-05-15Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Förskolans teknikundervisning: vad och hur?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Förskolans teknikundervisning: vad och hur?
2019 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this study was to provide a description of the subject area of tech­nology and the teaching of it in preschool. Three research questions were ad­dressed: 1) What is the content of the subject area of technology in preschool? 2) How do the participants in the study teach technology in preschool? and 3) What aspects of technology does the preschool staff enable the children to learn? The motivation behind the study is the fact that technology is a rela­tively new teaching area in preschool. Research on the topic is scarce and does not provide preschool staff with an adequate scientific basis on which to build their teaching. Data were generated in three phases. First, a questionnaire was sent to 10 % of preschools in one municipality, asking staff what they include in the subject area of technology and how they view the teaching of tech­nology in preschool. Secondly, seven preschool staff who had responded to the ques­tionnaire were interviewed with the aim of providing a more detailed descrip­tion of how technology is taught in their respective preschools. Thirdly, an ethnographically inspired perspective was employed with the participation of two preschool units. I visited them during a six-week period, carried out ob­servations and interviewed staff. The outcome of the research is presented in the form of five individual studies, which collectively provided answers to the research questions. The results showed that preschool staff vary in their de­scriptions of the content of the technology area and how it is taught, with a range spanning from content that does not belong in technology as a knowledge area to relatively complex technological content. Examples of the former were content such as natural science, non-technological skills and tech­niques and the use of technology as a means of learning in other subject areas. Examples of the latter were content such as how a specific technology works, for instance what parts an object is made of and how they are joined together, as well as knowledge of technological systems. The descriptions revealed var­ying levels of competence in the teaching of technology to preschool children, with some staff showing adequate knowledge and confidence and others showing a lower level of knowledge as well as insecurity. It also becomes clear that the intended equality in preschool education had not been achieved in respect of technology education. From the part of this study that was based on an ethnographically inspired perspective it is clear that when preschool staff have the interest and the knowledge needed to teach technology to chil­dren, such teaching can be meaningful to the children and contribute to their learning in accordance with the stated mission of the preschool. The study has relevance for preschool practice as well as for the research community.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Västerås: Mälardalen University, 2019
Series
Mälardalen University Press Dissertations, ISSN 1651-4238 ; 287Mälardalen Studies in Educational Sciences ; 42
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Didactics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-42880 (URN)978-91-7485-423-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2019-04-26, Kappa, Mälardalens högskola, Västerås, 13:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2019-03-07 Created: 2019-03-07 Last updated: 2019-03-19Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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