It is a tool, but not a ‘must’: early childhood preservice teachers’ perceptions of ICT and its affordances

Chuanmei Dong*, Pekka Mertala

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


With the ever-diversifying digital landscape of the 21st century, terms such as ‘information and communication technologies’ (ICT), ‘digital media’ and ‘technologies’ are often used to refer to a broad set of digital devices and applications. However, the use of these umbrella-concepts in educational contexts has caused issues when used in conjunction with concepts such as affordances and integration. In this paper, eight Chinese preservice early childhood teachers’ perceptions of ICT and its affordances are explored through online interviews. The participants conceptualised ‘ICT’ as screen-based technologies such as interactive whiteboards and computers. These technologies were perceived to afford efficiency and assistance, particularly for teacher-centred practice, but to constrain children’s tactile and direct hands-on experience. The results highlight the importance of sociocultural contexts (e.g. practicum places and educational traditions) in shaping preservice teachers’ perceptions of technology and technology use. Implications for future technology integration research and teacher education are discussed. Abbreviations: ICT: Information and communication technology; ECE: early childhood education; EC: early childhood; PSTs: Preservice early childhood teachers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)540-555
Number of pages16
JournalEarly Years
Issue number5
Early online date5 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2021


  • preservice teachers
  • early childhood education
  • technology
  • ICT and affordances


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