Rock, Paper, Scissors, iPads: A Qualitative Study of the Choices Kindergarten Children Make When Composing Texts

Student Author(s)

Alexandria Hutchison

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Tony Donk, Education

Document Type


Event Date



The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) indicate that kindergarten students will: With guidance and support from adults, explore a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.K.6). While this goal is clear, the professional literature stating how children will attain the requisite skills for reaching it is less so. This study adds to this emerging body of work. Specifically, our research explores opportunities and conditions for skill attainment prior to entering kindergarten and how these may influence students’ attitudes, comfort, and facility with digital tools for writing compositions as they enter kindergarten. We further explore how school-based access to, and modeled uses of, digital technology impact the choices kindergarten students make in the selection of tools for writing – namely paper and pencil or digital devices. In short, this study describes what teachers need to know about the digital influences on young learners, as well as how to match young learners with appropriate pedagogy for digital writing as they enter school.


This research was supported by a grant from Hope College's Frost Research Center.

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