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Educational Research and Evaluation Vol. 11, No. 6, December 2005, pp.

513-528

H Routledge ^^

Using Technology to Enhance Early Childhood Learning: The 100 Days of School pro j ect
Chrystalla Mouza*
University of Delaware, Newark, USA

This study describes the ways in which 6 teachers in an urban elementary school in the United States integrated technology within a common and familiar theme among lower grade (K-2) students, named the 100 Days of SchooL It also investigates the impact of technology integration on student learning. Thefindingsof the study indicate that teachers were successful in integrating technology within the 100 Days of School project in developmentally appropriate ways. Results of the study also demonstrate that use of technology promoted increased student motivation, enhanced learning in areas such as literacy, mathematics, and social studies, fostered social interaction, and built student confidence level. Critical factors that affected the success of the project included teacher professional development and administrative support. Findings of this study have implications for schools and districts interested in infusing technology in primary education.

Introduction
As computers increasingly become available in our schools and society, they begin to reshape the learning experiences of students in profound ways. Yet, the role of technology in early childhood education (5- to 8-year-olds) remains a controversial topic. Critics argue that use of technology may replace essential learning experiences for children such as play and experimentation with real objects (Cordes & Miller, 2000; Healy, 1999). They also claim that use of technology prevents children from interacting with peers and other adults and, therefore, may promote social isolation. Finally, critics assert that use of technology poses serious health hazards for children such as repetitive stress injuries, eyestrain, obesity, and occasionally, some physical. * Corresponding author. School of Education, University of Delaware, 132E Willard Hall, Newark, DE 19716, USA. E-mail; cmouzai^udel.edu ISSN 1380-3611 (print)/ISSN 1744-4178 (online)/05/060513-16 2005 Taylor & Francis DOI: 10.1080/13803610500254808

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emotional, or intellectual developmental damage. However, proponents contend that when successfully integrated, technology can have positive outcomes on child development without decreasing engagement with traditional essential learning experiences (Clements & Nastasi, 1993; Haughland & Wright, 1997). It can also serve as catalyst for social interaction and conversation related to children's work. Finally, physical concems can be addressed by monitoring the amount and ways in which children work at the computer. Computer use at this age should be brief, with students taking frequent breaks (Van Scoter, Ellis, & Railsback, 2001). While the question of whether children should be using technology or not is important, it should not be our primary focus. Technology has become ubiquitous in our lives and teachers and students are using it for a wide variety of tasks. Therefore, attention should be given on helping teachers find meaningful ways of using technology with young children while avoiding potential risks (Van Scoter et al., 2001). TTiis paper investigates the ways in which six teachers in an elementary school in the United States integrated technology within a common and familiar theme among lower grade (K-2) students, named the 100 Days of School. The 100 Days of School is a special event that takes place every year at the particular school and celebrates the first 100 days of school with activities that revolve around the number 100. Specifically, this study addresses two important questions; 1. In what ways did teachers integrate technology within the 100 Days of School project to accomplish learning goals and foster student development? 2. What were the benefits of technology-enhanced activities on student learning? Theoretical Framework: Technology and Child Development The early years of children's life (birth to 8 years of age) are important for their physical, cognitive, social-emotional, and language development. Research on children's development suggests that at this age, children need opportunities to leam by doing through interacting, exploring, and manipulating real world objects (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 2000). Such activities allow children to actively construct knowledge (Piaget, 1972). Knowledge is also constructed through social interaction and conversations with peers and adults. The creation of such social atmosphere is crucial to the growth and development of young children (Vygotsky, 1986). When used appropriately, technology not only does not take away from important developmental experiences, but it actually adds the potential of supporting children's unique needs and enhancing achievement. Technology can contribute to children's cognitive development in three ways: (a) it allows teachers to easily create environments in which students can leam by doing; (b) it helps students visualize difficult-to-understand concepts (Bransford et al., 2000); and (c) it reinforces traditional developmentally appropriate activities (Clements & Nastasi, 1993). Clements and Nastasi (1993), for example, found that third-grade children who used both manipulatives and computer programs showed more sophistication in classification and logical thinking than children who used only manipulatives.

The 100 Days of School Project 515 In addition to promoting cognitive development, technology can foster social interaction, peer teaching, and collaboration, particularly through the use of open-ended software programs (Clements & Nastasi, 1993). Children become both able and more willing to work with partners on the computer. According to Clements, Nastasi, and Swaminathan (1993, p. 60), "compared to more traditional activities, such as puzzles assembly or block building, the computer elicits more social interaction and different types of interaction". Such interactions contribute to students' social and language development because they foster high levels of spoken communication. Finally, computers can also contribute to the social interaction of children with disabilities. Interactive software programs provide a springboard for conversations even for children who tend not to communicate (Hutinger, 1996). Researchers agree, however, that computers can be used in meaningful ways only if teachers are well prepared to integrate them in their curriculum and select software consistent with the way children leam and develop. Teachers need to ensure that technology is integrated with regular classroom activities and used to accomplish a real purpose. They also need to create a climate that encourages collaboration and social interaction around technological resources. Finally, they need to provide a variety of tools (e.g., computers, tape recorders, cameras) in order to address a wide range of student learning styles and needs (Van Scoter & Boss, 2002). When selecfing software, teachers need to consider the intended purpose of the program and whether it will help students meet specific learning objectives. Open-ended software are generally more appropriate for young children because they allow opportunities to wonder, explore, create, hypothesize, problem-solve, and interact with other children. To be more specific, teachers need to select software that: (a) allow for active leaming and exploration; (b) contain sounds, music, or voice; (c) excite children; (d) are relevant to children's prior knowledge; (e) encourage investigations; and (f) apply to real-life problems (Davidson & Wright, 1994; Davis & Shade, 1994; National Association for the Education of Young Children, 1996). Software appropriate for children in K-2 classrooms that exhibit these kinds of characteristics include: (a) programs that focus on early skills, such as counting and letter recognition that can be used in combination with traditional approaches (e.g., use of manipulatives); (b) writing and drawing software such as KidPix; (c) playful exploratory programs that teach concepts; and (d) storybooks, which feature animation, sound, and voice output when the child selects items on the screen (Buckleitner, 1994). Description of the 100 Days of School Project The 100 Days of School project is an interdisciplinary technology-enhanced curriculum project for K-2 students. The project was designed by a technology coordinator and six teachers in an urban school environment in New York City and was funded by a Leaming Technology Grant through the New York State (NYS) Department of Education. The purpose of the project was to engage students in a series of activities revolving around the number 100 that support leaming standards in disciplines such as language arts, social studies, mathematics, science, and

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technology. The 100 Days of School curriculum was designed during a summer technology conference in 2000. The curriculum consisted of four units: 1. School life interviews of 100 staff members. In this unit, students needed to survey 100 staff members in their school. Kindergarten students asked teachers about their mode of transportation to schooL First-grade students asked teachers about their favorite place to eat. Second-grade students asked teachers about the number of years they had been teaching and their favorite aspect of the school. Consequently, students were instructed to graph and analyze the data. Recipes with 100 ingredients. The purpose of this unit was to have students create recipes that included 100 ingredients, while reading relevant books. A 100 word poem. This unit required students to create a poem that consisted of 100 words. In kindergarten, the words needed to be paired together (such as foot and sock). In first grade, the words needed to rhyme. In second grade, the words needed to represent opposites. A quest of knowledge in the world of toys. Through this unit, teachers engaged students in leaming about the history of toys 100 years in the past in order to understand the living habits of that era.

2. 3.

4.

All activities were designed to address specific NYS learning standards. In language arts, standards addressed included: (a) reading, writing, speaking, and listening for social interaction (units 1, 2, and 3); (b) listening, speaking, reading, and writing for information and understanding (units 2 and 4); and (c) using language for literacy response, expression, and artistic creation (units 2 and 4). In mathematics, science, and technology, standards addressed included: (a) accessing, generating, processing and transferring information using appropriate technologies (all units); and (b) understanding mathematics and becoming mathematically confident by communicating and reasoning and by applying mathematics in real-world settings (units 1 and 2). Finally, in social studies, students used a variety of activities to understand major ideas, eras, and themes in the history of the United States and New York (unit 4).

Teacher Professional Development


Teachers participating in the 100 Days of School project received professional development that took many forms, such as technology integration workshops, purely technical training, on-demand support, and school-site meetings. The purpose of these professional development activities was to help teachers upgrade their technological skills, their ability to integrate technology within the 100 Days of School curriculum, and their teaching competencies in general.

Technology Integration Workshops Between October 2000 and February 2001, teachers participated in weekly 2-hr technology integration workshops organized by staff at the Institute for Leaming

The 100 Days of School Project 517 Technologies (ILT) at Columbia University. The purpose of the workshops was to help teachers integrate technology in the 100 Days of School curriculum in meaningful ways. During the workshops, teachers explored various sofiware tools appropriate for supporting the goals of the 100 Days of School project. They also learned how to use a variety of computer peripherals such as scanners and digital cameras. At the same time, staff developers helped teachers address various concems regarding teaching and technology and presented altemative pedagogical strategies that helped them seamlessly integrate technology with leaming standards. A total of nine workshops were conducted. Software tools introduced during the workshops included: (a) Graph Club, a spreadsheet program appropriate for students in grades K-4; (b) Microsoft Word, a word processing tool; and (c) Microsoft FrontPage, a program that allows users to develop web pages. In addition, teachers were introduced to various web searching strategies as well as the WebQuest concept. WebQuests are inquiry-based learning activities organized around resources found on the World Wide Web.
Technical Training

During the months of February and March 2001, teachers who still needed help with basic computer skills participated in a series of after-school workshops provided by New Horizons Technology Leaming Centers. ^ Those were purely technical workshops that helped teachers build their skills in word processing and multimedia authoring.
On-Demand Support

On-demand support was provided by the school technology coordinator. This support aimed at helping teachers master technological skills involved in carrying out the activities of the 100 Days of School project and at developing appropriate lesson plans that integrated technology. Activities took place either in the school's computer laboratory or directly in teacher classrooms. On-demand pedagogical support was also provided by the school's staff developer, who often recommended nontechnological resources related to the project's theme.
School-Site Meetings

Throughout the school year, teachers held regular meetings at their own school site during common preparation periods or after-school hours. These meetings were about 1-hr long. During those meetings, teachers were able to collaboratively develop lesson plans, exchange ideas, provide support to each other, practice technical skills or acquire new ones, and reflect on their student experiences using technology. The school technology coordinator orchestrated the meetings and provided technical support. The ILT staff developers provided continuous support to teachers by often participating in teacher meetings and by collaborating with the technology coordinator.

518 C. Mouza Context and Methods


Participants

A total of six teachers and their students (approximately 180 students) participated in the 100 Days of School project. All participants were K-2 teachers. Specifically, the study included one kindergarten teacher (Ann), two first-grade teachers (Mary and Amy) and three second-grade teachers (Sue, Jenny, and Laura). TTieir teaching experience ranged fi-om 2 to 10 years. TTiey all had two I-Mac computers available in their classrooms that were loaded with word processing software, spreadsheets (Graph Club), and drawing tools (e.g., KidPix). All computers were connected to the Internet via a T l line. They were also connected to a color printer. Three of the teachers (Ann, Mary, and Sue) had no prior experience with technology or with computer-based instruction. Even very basic computer operations such as tuming a computer on, managing files, and saving on a disk presented a challenge. Two of the teachers Qenny and Laura) felt relatively comfortable with basic computer operation skills but had no prior experience with technology integration. Only one teacher (Amy), who had participated in professional development offered by the ILT 1 year earlier, felt comfortable in applying technology in her classroom. Even though this investigation followed all participants for a period of 1 academic year (2000-2001), it places more emphasis on a subset of three teachers and their students who were selected for in-depth case study analysis. Participants selected for in-depth case study analysis included a first-grade teacher (Mary), and two second-grade teachers (Sue and Jenny). There are three reasons why only three teachers were selected for in-depth case study analysis. First, in the middle of November 2000, the kindergarten teacher, Ann, assumed responsibilities as a staff developer for early childhood teachers. Even though she continued working on the project and completed all relevant activities with the kindergarten students, she did not have her own self-contained classroom. Second, one of the secondgrade teachers (Laura) had to discontinue participation in the project in March 2001 as she had to take a leave from the school for medical reasons. Therefore, she was not available until the end of the study. Finally, one of the first-grade teachers (Amy) had participated in an ILT professional development program the year before. This teacher was significantly more experienced in technology integration than the other participants. Since one of the goals of this study was also to investigate the impact of professional development on teachers who had received no prior training on technology, this teacher was also excluded from in-depth case study analysis. All teachers were serving at the same public elementary school which was located in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood in New York City. At the time of this study, the school was serving about 1,400 students with 93.6% being Hispanic and 60% being of limited English proficiency. In addition, 95.6% of the students were eligible for free lunch, indicating that almost all students came from economically disadvantaged families.

The 100 Days of School Project 519


Data Collection

The study was conducted over a period of 1 academic year (2000-2001). A qualitative research design (Merriam, 1998) was employed in order to gather rich and descriptive data on teacher experiences and their use of technology to support the 100 Days of School project. Data were collected from multiple sources that included: (a) field notes from workshops and school-site teacher meetings; (b) classroom observations; (c) reviews of documents such as the 100 Days of School curriculum, teacher lesson plans, samples of student work, schedules, and meeting notes; and (d) a series of interviews with the subset of three teachers and the technology coordinator. Workshop observations generated data related to the content and pedagogy of the professional development that teachers had received. They also documented teacher questions and concerns about the project, classroom implementation activities, successes and failures experienced on a weekly basis, and resources required. A total of eight workshops (18 hr)^ were observed. School-site meetings elicited data related to teacher planning, material employed, student activities, and teacher perceptions of the impact of technology on student learning. A total of 16 school-site meetings were observed (18hr). Some workshop observations were video-taped. All workshop and school-site meetings were audio-taped. Classroom observations documented the teacher overall teaching style and the use of technology to support the 100 Days of School project. Moreover, classroom observations helped the investigator understand the purpose and context of the activities performed and the role of the teacher and students when technology was deployed. All teachers were observed on at least two different occasions. Teachers selected for in-depth case study were observed between four to six different occasions. Systematic examination of schedules, lesson plans, and student work was used to corroborate evidence from other sources (Yin, 1984). Case study teachers were also interviewed on three separate occasions (October 2000, February and June 2001). All interviews were approximately 40min long and were audio-taped. Interviews provided information on (a) teacher beliefs towards the role of technology in teaching and learning; (b) teacher use of technology in support of the 100 Days of School project; (c) benefits of technology use for student learning; and (d) school contextual factors that promoted or inhibited technology implementation. The development of the first interview protocol (used in October 2000) was grounded in the literature and the study's research questions. It was initially fieldtested with a teacher not participating in this study. After appropriate modifications it was used with the three teachers selected for case study analysis. The second and third protocols (used in February and June 2001) were very similar to the first one but were customized for each teacher to probe on observations or particular issues that emerged during the previous interview. Data Analysis Field notes and audio-tapes from workshops, school-site meetings, and classroom observations were transcribed and reviewed. Audio-taped interview data were also

520 C. Mouza transcribed and reviewed. Analysis was ongoing throughout the study and each phase of data collection was shaped by prior data. A preliminary coding scheme was developed after analyzing data collected during the first 3 months of the study. The final coding scheme was developed through various iterations and included the following categories: (a) teacher implementation of technology within each of the project's units; (b) process of technology implementation; (c) teacher beliefs on the role of technology in supporting student learning; and (d) elements of the school context that facilitate or impede the implementation of technology. This coding scheme was then applied in all data and a data analysis matrix was developed that displayed individual teacher implementation of technology over time. Other data analysis matrices displayed teacher beliefs with regard to technology and elements of the school context that facilitated use of technology. Consequently, the author counted the number of teachers who demonstrated a particular behavior and the number of instances that an incident appeared in the data to identify common themes that cut across all teachers. Documents collected from teachers and students were then used to triangulate data from other sources and increase the validity of the results.

Results
Technology Integration in the 100 Days of School Project

Data analysis demonstrated that all teachers implemented a variety of technologyenhanced activities within the context of the 100 Days of School project. This section describes the pedagogical activities designed and implemented by teachers and the software selected to support them. School life interviews of 100 staff members. Each class participating in this unit surveyed 100 staff members in the school. Kindergarten students asked 100 staff members what mode of transportation they each used to come to school. First graders asked teachers where they usually ate lunch every day. Second graders asked teachers how long they had been working at the school and what they liked best about teaching there. Second graders also used a tape recorder to record teacher responses. According to Novick (1998), use of tape recorders can support literacy experiences since they allow children to speak, listen, read, and write, and develop an understanding of how sound translates to print. To collect the data, students were organized in small groups. Groups were always accompanied by the teacher or the teacher assistant. Students were encouraged to approach staff members, speak with them, and record their answers. Upon collection of the data, students tallied the responses and created graphs on poster paper. According to participating teachers, they initially focused on helping students understand number concepts through the use of objects and manipulatives. Subsequently, students met as a group and had conversations about the nature of the data. Once students understood how to tally the results and create bar graphs on paper, they were introduced to the software package Graph Club. Graph Club, a

The 100 Days of School Project 521 spreadsheet program, allowed students to enter the data collected through the surveys on the computer, analyze them, and create various types of graphs such as bar graphs, pies, and pictographs. The manipulative environment of Graph Club helped students move from graphing concrete objects to creating and interpreting abstract graphs. By creating different types of graphs, students were also able to see the relationship between different representations of the same data. Figure 1 demonstrates the results of the surveys distributed by kindergarten students. Recipes with 100 ingredients. Teachers launched this unit by reading and discussing books that included recipes such as the book Thunder Cake by author Patricia Polacco. Next, each class prepared a recipe related to the book they had read. Subsequently, kindergarten and first-grade students illustrated the process of creating a recipe using KidPix. Second-grade students used a word processor to type recipes they brought from home and KidPix to illustrate those recipes. At the end, they compiled their recipes and created a class recipe book. Some classes became highly creative and combined the recipe unit with elements extracted from the graphing and poetry units. The kindergarten and first-grade classes, for example, used Graph Club to graph the number of ingredients included in their recipe. At the end, the kindergarten class also turned its recipe into a poem and then into a song that was accompanied by relevant illustrations (Figure 2). This unit contributed to student learning in three ways. First, it allowed students to develop number sense by counting the number of ingredients included in the recipes. Second, it helped them understand sequencing by requiring them to follow directions in creating a recipe. Third, it enabled them to review elements of graphing by creating graphs with the number of ingredients used in their recipe. The introduction of

School Graph
What? How Many? 90 15 80 70

20

46

19

Figure 1. Results of the survey distributed by kindergarten children

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C. Mouza You add a little oil, and you mix it, you mix it. You mix It, mix it, mix it. Peanut butter, peanut butter. Peanuts, peanuts.

Figure 2. An illustrated recipe song created by kindergarten children in KidPix

technology allowed students to create a product that they were able to share with their parents as well as with other teachers. A 100-word poem. Teachers initiated this unit by reading and discussing poetry with their students. Subsequently, kindergarten students created a poem that contained pairing of words, such as/oor with socks. First-grade students used rhyming words like fat and cat. Second-grade students used antonyms, such as up and down. Once the poem was completed, students worked in pairs on the computer and illustrated their poems using KidPix. Some teachers compiled student work and created storybooks. Figure 3 shows a screen shot from a poetry illustration completed by first-grade students. Reflecting on the value of this activity, participating teachers commented that it allowed students to develop skills in language arts and writing as well as in arts and technology.
A quest of knowledge in the zvorld of toys. Although this unit was designed for all

participating teachers, only second-grade teachers were able to complete it due to time constraints. Specifically, second-grade teachers developed a WebQuest that allowed students to learn about the living habits and daily activities of people in the United States 100 years ago by studying toys from the past and investigating the ways in which they have changed over time. The WebQuest was developed by teachers during their participation in the ILT workshops and was refined during their schoolsite meetings. The teachers launched the activity by looking at historical books and engaging students in various activities, such as creating personal timelines that allowed them to understand the concept of looking back into the past. Subsequently, the WebQuest allowed students to read and view information over the Internet

The 100 Days of School Project 523

Then came a mouse into Ihe house to sit on the mat.


Figure 3. A poetry illustration created by first-grade students in KidPix

pertaining to toys in the past and present. They were then asked to find similarities and differences among toys fi-om the past and present and use this information to make predictions regarding toys in the future. Therefore, the WebQuest allowed students to use the Internet in order to develop and research social studies concepts related to a specific era in the history of the United States and New York. Benefits for Student Learning Data analysis related to student learning demonstrated that use of technology in the context of the 100 Days of School project benefited students in three ways: (a) it increased their motivation and persistence in doing school work; (b) it enhanced their learning in areas such as literacy, and mathematics; and (c) it increased their confidence level and contributed to the development of social skills by encouraging peer teaching and collaboration. Student Motivation One of the greatest benefits of incorporating technology into the 100 Days of School project was that it motivated students and increased their persistence in doing school work. Specifically, teachers observed that students were more motivated to read and write on the computer. They became very engaged with the project and even took responsibility for reminding the teacher about reading and writing tasks that needed to be completed, such as the refinement of their surveys and poems. Moreover, teachers noticed that students who were traditionally less motivated became highly engaged and often did more work than other students in the class.

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Sue, a second-grade teacher, who had her students read information on the Internet on the history of toys, commented during one of her interviews: I saw that a lot of students, who normally hesitated with reading and did not get engaged in books, became more motivated to read on the computer screen. I think that computers helped motivate some of the slower readers. Now, my students even bring their own CDs from home, like Encarta and Encyclopedias, to do research on various topics we cover in class. (Sue, June 2001) All participating teachers also noted that their students were more eager to edit and revise their assignments on the computer. Through the ability to go back on the computer and revise earlier efforts, teachers found that students became more refiective and critical of their work and often took the extra time to improve and enhance their projects. As the kindergarten teacher explained during a school meeting, her students often realized by themselves that their poetry did not match their drawings and willingly revised it appropriately. She noted: In my class I noticed that many of the students became very enthusiastic with the project. They were in fact often asking when they would be able to work on the computer. Not only students were willing to do the work but they also became very reflective. They were looking at their own work and judging for themselves whether it was ready to be submitted. They also became critical of each others' work and constantly wanted to go on the computer andfixthings. I heard students saying, "Oh, I don't like my drawing, it doesn't match the text". These students were then taking the time to revise their pictures and text. In the past, most students just did the work quickly and turned it in. They didn't want to be looking at it and revising it. {Ann, June 2001) Academic Skills Use of technology not only motivated students but also contributed to the development of their literacy and mathematics skills. Use of word processing software, for example, enhanced writing in two ways: (a) it allowed students to easily identify mistakes and fix them; and (b) it enabled students to focus on the content and mechanics of writing rather than on the fine motor skills required for hand writing. Jenny, a second-grade teacher, noted during one of her interviews: Some of my students have a really messy handwriting. Sometimes it is difficult even for them to understand what they are writing. Using the word processor helped them produce a clean and organized writing product. As a result, they were able to write more correctly because they could easily identity their errors; for example, putting a capital letter after a period. Qenny, February 2001) Mary, a first-grade teacher, also observed that her students put more efifort in their writing when they typed text on the computer and were also able to concentrate and write correctly. She commented: I was surprised with how much my students had accomplished while working on the computer. For example, when they typed their poem in KidPix, they were putting

The 100 Days of School Project 525 periods, capitalizing letters, etc. 1 was not expecting that they would remember those things. Of course, I had taught them those skills in class, but to actually transfer them onto the computer was very surprising. They really did a good job. (Mary, June 2001)

Use of technology did not only improve student writing skills but also reinforced mathematics concepts. All teachers recognized that the use of spreadsheets allowed students to pose and solve problems, examine data, and investigate patterns. As a result, students increased their understanding of data manipulation and graphing. During a classroom observation of the school life interviews unit, a second-grade student described her experiences with this activity as follows:
We asked teachers how many years they had been teaching and what they liked best about teaching in this school. We then used the computer to create graphs with Graph Club. We found out that most teachers in our school had been teaching for 5 years or less. (Crystal [second-grade student], June 2001)

The above comment indicates that the student was not only able to use Graph Club to enter and graph data but was also able to interpret those data and draw conclusions. This was quite a significant achievement for a young student.
Confidence Level and Social Development

A third area in which technology had a positive impact was on student confidence level and social development. Participating teachers reported that use of computers helped students build confidence in their abilities to perform well in school because they were able to produce polished, professional-looking products. As Mary noted, her students gained confidence and pride when they saw their poetry books published on the computer. Sue also observed that her students became proud as they shared with their peers on the computer. The fact that they were explaining certain tasks on the computer added to their confidence level and strengthened their verbal communication skills. These results reinforce other studies that have also indicated that children often develop a sense of self-efficacy, self-esteem, and overall satisfaction with their performance when using computers (Cohen, 1993). Finally, all teachers observed that use of computers not only did not isolate students, but in contrary, encouraged peer teaching and sharing. Mary explained:
Working on the computer encouraged children to socialize and interact with one another. Even students who were shy, staned talking and feeling more comfortable when working on the computer. (Mary, June 2001)

Sue and Jenny shared the same feelings and added that their students were really teaching each other on the computer. Clements and Nastasi (1992) also report that there is greater and more spontaneous peer teaching and helping when children use computers.

526 C. Mouza Discussion and Conclusions The purpose of this study was to investigate the ways in which six teachers integrated technology in a familiar theme among lower grade students and to examine the impact of such integration on student learning. Findings of the study indicated that teachers were successful in integrating technology within the 100 Days of School project in developmentally appropriate ways. Teachers were able to integrate technological tools (i.e.. Graph Club, KidPix, the Internet, etc.) that were appropriate for the age and experience of K-2 students. These tools engaged students in conversations, peer sharing, and creative expression. They also reinforced and enriched learning in areas such as literacy, mathematics, and social studies. The use of KidPix, for example, allowed children to enhance their projects with graphic images and color and write more elaborate descriptions. The use of Graph Club reinforced mathematical concepts related to data manipulation and graphing that were first introduced through the use of manipulative material. Moreover, use of the Internet provided access to information that enabled exploration of social studies concepts. Finally, all tools allowed students to create products that were shared with a larger cotnmunity that included their parents, teachers, and peers. The introduction of technology in the 100 Days of School curriculum did not disrupt the daily learning activities of students and did not limit in any way the traditional hands-on activities necessary for young children. Computers were used in addition to other hands-on activities and paper-and-pencil tasks to extend and enhance learning. Students obtained hands-on experiences using objects and manipulatives in mathematics before moving on to graph data on the computer. They also gained hands-on experiences preparing recipes before starting to type and illustrating recipes with the help of technology. Moreover, all teachers required students to handwrite their recipes and poems and then complete final drafts on the computer, therefore, enabling students to continue to develop their handwriting and other fine motor skills. Finally, the WebQuest seamlessly integrated a variety of tools and activities, both online and offline, in the pursuit of social studies concepts. As with other instructional innovations that attempt to alter teaching and learning, the introduction of technology within the 100 Days of School project presented several challenges to teachers. A key challenge was classroom management, so that all students get opportunities to work on the two cotnputers available. Teachers often had difficulty organizing group work, setting up rotating groups on the computer, and monitoring simultaneous tasks. The activities completed through the school life interviews unit, the first unit introduced by teachers, provided valuable experience that guided teacher practices in subsequent units. Another critical challenge was time constraints. Use of technology required significant up-front planning, collection of resources, and selection of appropriate software and web-sites that supported the goals of the project. The actual enactment of each unit also took longer than anticipated. A third significant challenge was related to equipment failure and/or technological glitches that disrupted the smooth flow of the activities associated with

The 100 Days of School Project 527 each unit. Finally, an important challenge was associated with teachers' lack of experience with technology. Most teachers had never used technology as an instructional tool and, therefore, did not know how to initiate and continue their projects or even envision what the end product might look like. Two important elements that helped teachers overcome the challenges described above were professional development and administrative support. Professional development was a key ingredient to the success of the project because it helped teachers build their technological skills, acquire a conceptual understanding and rationale for technology integration, enhance their classroom management strategies, and leam about a variety of tools and resources available to support student learning. Support from the school administration was also crucial to the success of the project. Administrative support took many forms, such as release time for teachers to attend workshops and re-arrangement of schedules to provide blocks of time for teachers to plan together and exchange opinions and experiences. This sharing of experiences and ideas motivated teachers to persist in their efforts to implement technology in their classrooms. Despite those findings, more research is needed with regard to forms of professional development that could support early childhood teachers in their efforts to use technology with young students. Technology can be a wonderful tool for students to leam, create, understand, and explore, but it can only do so in the hands of skilled teachers. Acknowledgements The author would like to acknowledge the contributions of Virginia Liz-Ferreira of New York City Public Schools and Richard Parsons of ILT. She also likes to acknowledge the collaboration of the teachers described in this study as well as the support of ILT at Columbia University. This paper has benefited from feedback received by Dr. Hugh F. Cline and two anonymous reviewers. Notes
1. New Horizons Computer Learning is the largest independent IT training company worldwide. 2. The first workshop was 4hr long. Teachers met at the ILT facilities on a Saturday to launch the project. References Bransford, J. D., Brown, A. L., & Cocking, R. R. (Eds.). (2000). How people leam: Brain, mind, experience, and school. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. Buckleitner, W. (1994). What's hot for the computer using tot. Technology'and Learning, 14(5), 18-27. Clements, D. H., & Nastasi, B. K. (1992). Computers and early childhood education. In M. Gettinger, S. N. Elliott, & T. R. Kratochwill (Eds.), Advances in sehoolpsychology: Preschool and early childhood irealmeni directions (pp. 187-246). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Eribaum Associates. Clements, D, H., & Nastasi, B. K, (1993). Electronic media and early childhood education. In B. Spodek (Ed.), Handbook of research on the education of young children (pp. 251-275). New York: Macmillan.

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