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The IERI Research Community :: Projects

Using Technology to Support Preschool Teachers' Professional Development

David K. Dickinson

Carolyn Adger, Ellen Peisner-Feinberg


This research project consists of the development and testing of technologically enriched Language Environment Enrichment Program (TLEEP) used by early childhood teachers, supervisors, and families to improve literacy learning for young children nationwide. The technology enrichment will include interactive television (ITV) and web-based instruction.

The specific activities include:

  • Broadcast instructional ITV from Massachusetts to teachers and supervisors in New England, Maryland, and North Carolina for interactive professional development

  • Electronic meeting places for teachers and supervisors

  • The development of a sophisticated web site for parents to help improve the literacy learning of their children that can be accessed from school and home

  • An assessment of the affect that the above projects have on learning

Interdisciplinary approaches to analyzing data were taken. A discourse analytic approach provided detailed description of the interactional dynamics conducive to learning during this in-service project. A comparison group design was used to examine the impact of the project on 65 classrooms and 455 children in New England and North Carolina. HLM analyses revealed significant changes in classroom practices and on children's language and literacy development. Significant and sizable amounts of between-group variance explained by participation in the intervention was found for receptive vocabulary. Significant but smaller amounts of variance in phonological awareness and early literacy was explained by participation in the intervention.

Dickinson, D.K. & Brady, J. (2005). Toward Effective Support for Language and Literacy Through Professional Development: A Decade of Experiences and Data. In Zaslow, M. & Martinez -Beck (Ed.). Critical issues in early childhood professional development (pp. 141-170). Baltimore, MD: Brookes.

Adger, C.T., Hoyle, S.M. & Dickinson, D.K. (2004). Locating learning in in-service education for preschool teachers. American Education Research Journal, 41 (4), 867-900.

Dickinson, D.K., McCabe, A. & Clark-Chiarelli, N. (2004). Preschool-based prevention of reading disability: Realities vs. possibilities. In C.A. Stone, E. R. Silliman, B.J. Ehren, & K. Apel (Eds.), Handbook of Language and Literacy: Development and Disorders (pp.209-227). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum

Dickinson, D. K., St. Pierre , R. B., & Pettengill, J. (2004). High-quality classrooms: A key ingredient to family literacy programs' support for children's literacy. In B. Wasik (Ed.), Handbook of Family Literacy (pp. 137-154). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Dickinson, D.K., McCabe, A., Anastasopoulos, L., Peisner-Feinberg, E., Poe, M. (2003). The Comprehensive Language Approach to Early Literacy: The Interrelationships Among Vocabulary, Phonological Sensitivity, and Print Knowledge Among Preschool-aged Children. The Journal of Educational Psychology, 95, 465-481.

You can learn more about this project by visiting