How social factors influence the understanding of the computers by kindergarten pupils

Argyris Kyridis, Kyriaki Patrali, Anastasia Alevriadou, Mikaela Petrou, Sofia Anastasiadou


The aim of the research is to explore the views of infants and preschool aged children on computers as a concept and as an element of material culture. In other words, the research seeks to identify the ideas and concepts that the children have form on the computer and its peripheral units. At the same time there has been an effort to detecting the factors that probably affect the Greek preschool aged children’s formation of views and concepts on computers. The factors that have been checked are parents’ education level and profession, the existence or not of a computer in kindergarten class, the sex, the place of residence and children’s age. In order for the degree of infants’ conceptual change to emerge, the question “does a computer remain a computer if one of its external characteristics changes” had been investigated. The phenomenon of simile or parallelism of the computer or its parts with other objects had been observed (i.e. “the screen is like a TV” or “is a TV”, “the central unit and printer are machines” etc) especially on behalf of the preschool aged children. It seems that preschool aged children compared with infants, use in higher degree more essential characteristics in order to define computer and its parts (recognition - usage - preservation of identity). In general these findings confirm the findings of international researches which highlight the important role of parents’ educational level and profession in the acquisition of knowledge on new technologies by their children. In the majority of children there were evident difficulties in defining the concept of computer and also to realize what it is what it does.  This difficulty was expected as the computer is an artificial object with complex functions which essentially are based on its internal characteristics. In parallel, children’s notions on the computer and its parts are depended on factors as their mother’s profession and educational level as well as if there is or not a PC in kindergarten. On the contrary children’s sex, the place of residence, father’s educational level and profession don’t seem to significantly influence children. Specifically, mother’s profession influences significantly children’s performance. It has been found that children whose mother is a freelancer-scientist or a public servant statistically have significantly greater numbers of right answers from the children whose mother is a farmer or a worker and from those whose mother is a privet employee, a freelancer or a merchant.  Mother’s educational level seems to influence children’s views and notions even though something worth mentioning occurs: the greater number of right answers it is given by children whose mothers are secondary education graduates. This finding might be explained by the higher expectations that these mothers have from their children. Even though they, themselves don’t graduate form a higher institution, they very much want that for their children. The lowest performances have children whose mothers are elementary school graduates. It’s impressive the fact that on the question related to the computers identity change or not, no differences were found among the three groups, something that needs further investigation.

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