Digital access to knowledge in the preschool classroom: Reports from Australia

Australian preschool teachers' use of Web-searching in their classroom practice was examined (N = 131). Availability of Internet-enabled digital technology and the contribution of teacher demographic characteristics, comfort with digital technologies and beliefs about their use were assessed. Internet-enabled technologies were available in 53% (n = 69) of classrooms. Within these classrooms, teacher age and beliefs predicted Web-searching practice. Although comfortable with digital access of knowledge in their everyday life, teachers reported less comfort with Web-searching in the context of their classroom practice. The findings identify the provision of Internet-enabled technologies and professional development as actions to support effective and confident inclusion of Web-searching in classrooms. Such actions are necessary to align with national policy documents that define acquisition of digital literacies as a goal and assert digital access to knowledge as an issue of equity.

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