Date Approved

5-31-2005

Embargo Period

4-12-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A. in Elementary Education

Department

Interdisciplinary and Inclusive Education

College

College of Education

First Advisor

Molinari, Louis

Subject(s)

Computers and children; Preschool children--Social conditions

Disciplines

Elementary Education and Teaching

Abstract

The purpose of this thesis was to examine the impact of computers on the social behavior of preschoolers, specifically, (a) to study the frequency and level of peer interactions in the computer center, (b) compare these to interactions when the computer center was not available, and (c) investigate gender differences in the computer center.

Fourteen preschool children of various ethnic backgrounds were videotaped or observed for 15 minutes a day for two three week periods. During the first three weeks the computer, housekeeping, block and art centers were observed. During the second three weeks the computer center was not used. Analysis of social interactions was done using Chi Square which revealed that having a computer center in the preschool classroom did make a significant difference in the social interactions of the group studied. When looking for significant patterns of social interaction across genders it was found that boys chose the computer center fifty percent more often than the girls and a larger number of low-level interactions took place with the male students using the computer center compared to the female. In theory, the significant difference found when taking the computer center away should encourage early childhood educators to further investigate the use of computers in their own classrooms.

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