Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

Program Name/Specialization

Developmental Psychology

Faculty/School

Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Dr. Eileen Wood

Advisor Role

Advisor

Abstract

Given the prevalence of computer software in educational settings, it is important to establish the efficacy of software for teachers in the classroom. One free software program, ABRACADABRA (ABRA), has been demonstrated to be effective in the development of literacy skills in young children (e.g. Wolgemuth, et al., 2014). The present study evaluated the impact of teachers’ literacy knowledge and comfort with technology with respect to professional development workshops providing training in the implementation of ABRA. Two cohorts of teachers were drawn from Canada and one from Kenya. A total of 64 female teachers (Mage= 38.26, SDage =11.22) completed two surveys one prior to training and one after. Outcomes indicated that participants’ knowledge of literacy did not significantly vary across locations; however, their confidence in teaching four areas (reading fluency, writing, comprehension, and alphabetics) of literacy did vary as a function of location, with Kenyan teachers yielding the highest teaching confidence. Across all locations, participant’s confidence in teaching early literacy increased following the workshop. Perceived comfort using technology and comfort teaching with technology were highly correlated, but no differences were observed for perceived comfort across cohorts. Overall, there were no differences among the teachers in these perceptions, however, teachers with previous professional development related to literacy expressed more confidence teaching literacy than those who had no previous professional development. Qualitative analyses confirmed some well-established barriers and successes for these teaching workshops.

Convocation Year

2019

Available for download on Monday, November 11, 2019

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