School of Education
Doctor of Education (EdD)
Alan K Wimberley
computers, early education, iPads, mobile technology, preschool, tablets
Early Childhood Education | Educational Leadership
Tagawa, Dean, "iPads in Preschools: A Collective Case Study about Tablet Technology in Subsidized Preschool Programs" (2018). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 1682.
Preschool children today will not remember a time when there were no smartphones, laptops, or iPads. The purpose of this qualitative collective case study was to develop an in-depth understanding of the challenges and benefits of implementing tablet technology for early education teachers that work in subsidized preschool programs. Tablet utilization in preschool classrooms was generally defined as how teachers from five different classrooms utilize tablet technology to enhance the instructional programs for children in subsidized preschool programs. The setting for this study was five early education centers in a large urban school district. Data were collected through semistructured interviews, audio-visual recordings, and observations. Data were analyzed by applying within-case analysis, cross-case synthesis, and direct interpretation of the evidence. Issues of trustworthiness were addressed through triangulation, member checks, and clarifying researcher bias. The primary research questions were: (a) How do sociocultural learning theory and developmentally appropriate practice apply to a preschooler’s use of tablet technology? (b) What do early education teachers need to understand so iPads can be successfully utilized in a preschool classroom? (c) How do early education teachers describe their experience as they implement iPads into the instructional program? The results of the study revealed that children benefit the most from technology when it is used in conjunction with interactions that are commensurate with socio-cultural learning theory and developmentally appropriate practices. Devoid of these interactions, children can use the technology but this does not always translate into meaningful learning. The study also revealed that teachers who systematically plan for how the devices will be implemented in their classrooms also experienced greater successes while mitigating their initial fears and challenges.