The Influence of Young Children's Use of Technology on Their Learning: A Review

This study aimed to conduct a systematic literature review on empirical studies of how technologies influence young children’s learning. Eighty-seven articles published between 2003 and 2013 were identified through the Web of Science database. We employed content analysis to identify the research trends of this topic. “Technology evaluation,” “adults’ roles,” and “teaching approaches” are three emerging research themes during 2008-2013. About one-third of the studies involved children who were from immigrant or low socioeconomic status families, or had special needs. The majority of the reviewed studies revealed that the technologies had positive effects on children’s performance across developmental domains. Particularly, in social domain, most studies showed that technologies enhanced children’s collaboration and interaction with others and their development of multiculturalism. We also propose a typology for conceptualizing the complexity of the relationships between technology use and children’s learning. We argue that children’s learning with technology is conditioned by several factors categorized into children, adults, and technology aspects. Moreover, a trend of examining children’s development of digital literacy emerged, involving investigation of the skills needed for and perceptions of technology use. Lastly, while most studies viewed children as consumers of technology, their role as creators has been understudied and deserves more research attention.

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