Making Sense of the Virtual World for Young Children: Estonian Pre-School Teachers’ Experiences and Perceptions

Andra Siibak, Kristi Vinter

Abstract


The study provides an overview of teacher perceptions regarding young children’s internet use and media education in pre-schools. Two focus-group interviews with 24 Estonian pre-school teachers were carried out in order to analyze their experiences and opinions about factors that influence pre-school children’s computer and Internet use. Pre-school teachers’ perceptions about their own role in shaping children’s media literacy were also examined. The results indicate that teachers consider the role of the family on children’s computer use to be more significant compared to their own role. Although the teachers started to acknowledge their own role as supervisors and parents’ counselors as the interviews progressed, no curriculum-based media literacy shaping is done in the classrooms. Furthermore, rather than developing children’s awareness of the media, various new media had been used as “enrichment” and significantly fewer activities that would actually help to shape children’s media literacy were mentioned.

Keywords


pre-school teachers, young children, computer use, media literacy, Estonia

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The full website for the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research can be found at: http://jvwresearch.org