The influence of TPACK contextual factors on early childhood educators' tablet computer use

Courtney K. Blackwell*, Alexis R. Lauricella, Ellen Wartella

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Tablet computers are increasingly becoming commonplace in classrooms around the world. More than half of early childhood educators in the U.S. now have access to tablets, making it imperative to understand how they are using the device and what influences such use. The current study draws on survey data from 411 preschool educators serving 3- to 5-year-olds in school-based, center-based, and Head Start preschool programs to investigate how TPACK contextual factors (e.g., student background, teacher attitudes, and school support) influence teachers' traditional and student-centered tablet computer practices. Results suggest that teacher-level factors - especially positive attitudes toward technology - are most influential. Overall, this study emphasizes the need for preschool teachers and teacher educators to understand and address the critical contextual factors of tablet computer use in preschool education. Implications for education policy include expanding traditional funding models beyond technology access to provide on-going educator support, and developing new initiatives that encourage novel professional development models based on the same learned-centered practices that teachers are encouraged to use themselves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-69
Number of pages13
JournalComputers and Education
StatePublished - Jul 2016


  • Early childhood education
  • Logistic regression
  • Tablet computer
  • Technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • Education


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