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Digital Literacy Skills: Insights from the experiences of using technology for learning of part-time adult students of Early Childhood Care & Education in an Irish Further Education College

Buckley, Martina (2021) Digital Literacy Skills: Insights from the experiences of using technology for learning of part-time adult students of Early Childhood Care & Education in an Irish Further Education College. Masters thesis, Dublin, National College of Ireland.

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Abstract

The development of digital literacy skills is a key focus for educational policy makers on both a global and national level driven in the main by economic factors and the need to meet the requirements of a continually evolving and fast paced technological world. This study used insights from an exploration of the experiences of using technology for learning of part-time adult students of an early childhood education and care programme in an Irish further education college to emphasise the importance of the development of digital literacy skills from an assessment of need basis taking into consideration the unique context of the adult learner. Using a qualitative phenomenological methodological approach supported by a theoretical framework of adult learning theories, semi-structured interviews were used to capture the experiences of six participants. The data were analysed using thematic analysis from which four final themes emerged: Confidence and emotional impact of a lack of confidence; Information and Support; Impact of technology on the learning experience; Technology use in ECCE. Findings show that at least basic digital literacy skills are necessary to use technology for learning with a lack of these skills having an adverse impact on learners’ confidence and self-esteem. Support in the development of digital literacy skills was found to be provided in an ad hoc and informal manner without recognition of the diversity and unique context of the adult learner. Assessment of needs is required to provide appropriate support which should be on a formal and ongoing basis. Using technology for learning had positive and negative impacts on the learning experience with emphasis on the negative impact on the social aspect. The importance of digital literacy skills and technology use for work in the early childhood sector was found to be undervalued by the participants. These findings have generated knowledge that is valuable and of benefit to educators, educational institutions and policy makers in the further education sector and the early childhood care and education sector particularly in light of the emergency transition to online learning as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the study hopes to contribute to the discourse on the reconnect between the experiences of students and policy design when it comes to the development of digital literacy skills so that technology might be used to its full potential for learning and for work.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: L Education > LC Special aspects / Types of education > LC5201 Education extension. Adult education. Continuing education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > Early childhood education
L Education > LC Special aspects / Types of education > E-Learning
L Education > LC Special aspects / Types of education > Literacy
Divisions: Centre for Education and Lifelong Learning > Master of Arts in Educational Practice
Depositing User: Clara Chan
Date Deposited: 13 Jan 2022 15:42
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2022 15:42
URI: https://norma.ncirl.ie/id/eprint/5286

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