Childhood Technology Use: A Predictor of Adult Perspectives on Technology in Education
Dr. Sonja Trent-Brown, Psychology
Technology is ubiquitous in today’s society, particularly since the advent of smartphones, and has been increasingly becoming a vital component of education (Rosen, 2013). This study seeks to understand how childhood and adolescent technology usage informs college students’ perspectives of the importance of technology for education. A self-report Qualtrics survey explored college students’ experiences and perceptions of technology use. Survey questions pertain to the age of initial implementation of various technologies and frequency of classroom technology use. Furthermore, this survey assesses participants’ perceptions of the importance of technology for learning and the benefit of increasing technology use in the classroom. Preliminary correlational analyses have been conducted to assess the relationship between previous usage and current perceptions. Further analyses determine which past technology experiences serve as predictors for current perceptions of its importance and benefit for learning. A higher frequency of technology use in elementary and middle school classrooms was associated with a higher perceived importance of electronics for learning, and a higher perceived benefit for increasing classroom technology use. In addition, students who received their first cellphone/smartphone at a later age viewed electronics as less important for learning. Similarly, students who first engaged with both one-on-one technology and various types of screen-based play at younger ages were more likely to rate increasing technology use as beneficial for preschool through elementary school classrooms. Childhood enjoyment of electronics was also positively associated with a perceived benefit of increasing technology in middle school through college. These students will be future parents and teachers, and their perspectives can help shape how future generations interact with technology. As technology continues to develop, researchers must investigate societal perceptions and impact as well as the implications of technology for desired educational outcomes.
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