Eastern Connecticut State University
Center for
Early Childhood Education
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Handheld vs. Desktop Computers: Effective Usage by Preschoolers in Natural Learning Environments

Research by Dr. Sudha Swaminathan and Meghan Ryczek

Summer 2010


The purpose of this research project is to study preschoolers’ natural use of two educational technology devices, a handheld computer and a desktop computer. Select children will be introduced to these devices within a learning center environment. Children’s interactions will be documented using a participant observation methodology and measured on five dimensions, namely ease and comfort of use, effectiveness for video revisiting, use as a literacy tool, use as a cognitive tool, and for expressing creativity. Results will be compiled to inform both research and teaching practice about preschooler’s preference, competency, and learning potential using both devices. The project will also involve the development of a rating scale to evaluate children's applications available for the iPad.