Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Let's Draw: Utilizing Interactive White Board to Support Kindergarten Children's Visual Art Learning Practice

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Let's Draw: Utilizing Interactive White Board to Support Kindergarten Children's Visual Art Learning Practice

Article excerpt

Introduction and problem statement

Problems of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) use in Taiwanese kindergartens

The Ministry of Education in Taiwan outlined the importance of ICT applications in classrooms for K-12 teachers. To foster the development of digital citizens, the Taiwanese government strongly encouraged teachers to embrace the concept of curriculum integration with ICT by holding several workshops on ICT applications in education (Ministry of Education, 2008). However, similar to the status and development in Western countries (e.g., Hsin, Li, & Tsai, 2014; Yelland, 2005), many early childhood educators in Taiwan remain skeptical about ICT use in kindergartens. Those who were unwilling to adopt ICT in the curriculum often expressed that ICT use might lead to impaired eye development, poor social interaction, and computer addiction (Chen & Huang, 2007). Chen and Huang (2007) further explored the factors influencing kindergarten teachers' ICT use and found that teachers who resisted using ICT in the classroom often lacked professional knowledge regarding ICT use for curriculum reform and personal experience in utilizing ICT in their teaching practice. In addition, according to a recent survey report (Chen, 2011), from the preschool teachers' perspectives, the largest barrier for ICT integration in kindergartens is administrational support.

Emphasis on traditional drawing instruction in Taiwanese kindergartens

Because young children in kindergartens have not received literacy training yet, they often draw symbolic images to express their ideas. According to Piaget's (1956) constructive learning theory, children use symbols in drawings to construct their imaginary worlds. Kress and Van Leeuwen (2001) considered children's visual artworks to be "image grammar" that communicates their conceptual knowledge to adults. Therefore, most kindergartens in Taiwan emphasize drawing instruction in the curriculum design (Shen, 2003). Several kindergarten teachers even examined the content of drawings as a benchmark of cognitive development (Ehrlen, 2009).

Drawing instruction is a subcategory of visual art education. Traditionally, kindergarten children's drawings are created using pencils, pens, and crayons because schoolteachers emphasize on traditional teaching methods. For instance, according to learning resources listed in the Association of Taiwan Art Education (2015), most preschool teachers still employ traditional teaching methods without the need of technology tools in drawing instruction. Integrating ICT into visual art education is uncommon in Taiwanese kindergartens. This phenomenon echoed Terreni's (2010) observations in worldwide early childhood settings, and also became a driving force in completing the current study.

Unpopularity of interactive white board use in Taiwanese kindergartens

An interactive white board (IWB) is a large touch screen display mounted on a wall. When used in classrooms, it is often combined with a digital projector that displays electronic signals from a desktop or laptop computer. Teachers or children can easily use electronic pens to annotate texts and move learning objects (e.g., images or animation) on the IWB (Preston & Mowbray, 2008). These interactive features situate young children in a joybased learning environment (Morgan, 2010), where students' learning interest and motivation are higher than they are in traditional learning environments (Terreni, 2010). Despite the claimed benefits of IWB use, according to Tsai's (2013) survey report, the installation rate of IWBs in Taiwanese kindergartens was extremely low. Furthermore, based on the researchers' long-term observation, a combination of IWB instruction and drawing instruction for young kids was also rarely seen in the kindergartens.

Theoretical discussion and research purpose

Foundations of IWB use in Kindergartens

According to a new position statement of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (2012), when used wisely, ICTs are effective learning tools that may support learning in young children. …

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