Mega-bites and ABC's: An examination of the use of integrated technology in an early literacy healthy eating kindergarten program
Alaina L. Roach O'Keefe, University of Prince Edward Island , Canada
University of Prince Edward Island . Awarded
Major efforts are made to improve the healthy eating habits and literacy levels among young children, most often through intervention-type programs. This research project emerged out of a larger study called Eating Between the Lines: A Healthy Eating Literacy Program for Preschool Children and their Families (EBTL) which used an emergent literacy approach, teaching children about nutrition concepts. Based on the premise of literacy as a social practice and that active learning is most effective in early childhood education, the goal of my research was to include technology as an integral component in the EBTL program. A series of technology-based activities was embedded within the program where children gained experience and new knowledge using slideshows, Internet, scanners, drawing, and word processing programs. Questionnaires and interviews with parents probed what evidence existed to demonstrate that knowledge exchange was taking place in the context of the home environment.
Results from observational field data show that students made meaningful connections with each other and with new concepts and ideas. A clear theme that prevailed was the consistent use of oral language and vocabulary development. Children applied new nutrition knowledge while engaging with literacy activities using technology as a literacy tool. Additionally, interviews with parents indicated that there was uptake and meaningful transfer in the home environment with parents, siblings, and peers. Future research may include an EBTL @ Home component, and the potential of extending EBTL into the provincial curriculum.
Roach O'Keefe, A.L. Mega-bites and ABC's: An examination of the use of integrated technology in an early literacy healthy eating kindergarten program. Master's thesis, University of Prince Edward Island.
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