Research Briefs

Research question: What is the impact of interactive academic programs on teacher effectiveness during Early Childhood Years?

Investing in early childhood education (ECE) is a societal solution that produces upward mobility.  ECE helps to avoid achievement gaps by developing social and cognitive skills required for school readiness. It also prevents potential expensive and marginally successful schooling programs in future life. Interactive academic programs, including assistive technologies, have proven effective in enhancing teacher effectiveness during ECE. This research briefs explore the impact of interactive educational programs on teacher effectiveness during ECE.

Van der Wilt, Boerma, van Oers, & van der Veen (2019) conducted a study on interactive reading programs on the learners’ language ability in early childhood education. According to the researchers, language development ability is one of the primary problems during early childhood and significantly impacts the children’s social development and a conjecturer for success in school. Low language ability often leads to rejection by peers. Similarly, young learners with low language abilities learn to read and write slower than their peers.

The impact of three interactive reading “traditional interactive reading, interactive reading using a mind map, and interactive reading with focused attention,” on the learners’ language development ability in early childhood education were examined using pre-posttest research design. The research sample comprises 73 (N=73) children aged 4-6 years drawn from three early childhood education facilities. The research hypothesis was that the mind-map approach’s impact would be higher than the remaining two approaches, based on the learner’s receptive vocabulary, productive vocabulary, narrative, and listening comprehension skills. The research findings/results indicated no significant difference in the three approaches. However, there was a substantial improvement in learner’s language abilities after the intervention. Thus, the findings suggest that the three different interactive reading methods are effective for the learner’s language development even with a short intervention period.

Martín, Roldán‐Alvarez, Haya, Fernández‐Gaullés, Guzmán, & Quintanar (2019)’s article explores the impact of the adoption of interactive technologies (devices) in early childhood education, particularly in the Spanish public schools. Integrating interactive information and communication technologies (ICTs) in early childhood education programs is essential for adjusting the traditional classroom to fit in the digital era. However, according to the researchers, there is a knowledge gap in this area, hence prompting this study. 

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The study adopted learning experiments comprising 48 learners to measure the learners’ knowledge acquisition (participants) and whether technology impacted it. Data about the participants’ knowledge acquisition was measured using “pretest” and a “post-test” that the learners had to solve on paper and direct observation of the experiments. Study findings suggested again from pretest to post-test in the three experimental groups, with the effect size being more extensive in all the groups and indicating that technology impacted the learning process for early childhood education.

Nusir, Alsmadi, Al-Kabi & Sharadgah (2013) in their study focused on adopting interactive multimedia programs on early childhood education children and improving the children’s ability to learn necessary math skills. Multimedia denotes computer-mediated information presented in more than one medium and comprises text, motion graphics, photographs, audios, animations, videos, and hypermedia. The study aimed to establish the differences in first-grade students’ academic achievements in arithmetic between students under the traditional learning approach and those exposed top interactive multimedia approaches, using a case study methodology. The research population comprises all the first-grade students at Yarmouk University Model School, who were grouped into two groups. One group was taught a math topic traditional method while the other using a multimedia approach. A simple math test was conducted across the two groups at the end of the session. The correlation between the outcomes of the two tests came out to as +0.29. Learners under interactive multimedia programs considerably outperformed those taught using the traditional approach as measured by the test scores. The study’s outcome suggests a positive effect on adopting interactive multimedia programs for teaching early education learners.

Jilink, Fukkink, & Huijbregts (2018) carried out a study to evaluate the impact of in-service training on early childhood education and care (ECEC) teachers’ interactive skills. The ECEC staff are obligated to display a wide range of skills when interacting with learners to support the development of the learners effectively. In a pretest-posttest study design on 78 ECEC teachers drawn from 22 community schools of the Korean organizations, the researchers evaluate the impact of early childhood education (ECE) training and video-interaction guidance (VIG) enhancing teacher instructional effectiveness. The first hypothesis is that ECE training improves the educators’ development of stimulation and verbal communication while respecting the learners’ autonomy. The second hypothesis is that VIG enhances the quality of the instruct learners’ autonomy, nurturing peer interaction while at the same time respecting the learner’s autonomy. ECE and VIG combined to improve the overall learning process. The study revealed that teachers who received either ECE or VIG or both exhibited average higher levels of interactive skills than the control groups.

Willmann (2017) examined the teachers’ and administrators’ opinions concerning adopting a technology-enhanced reading curriculum and classroom interactions. Technology, through computer-assisted instruction, presents instructional or learning materials effectively, monitoring the students’ learning process and adapting to individual student’s needs according to the article. Therefore, there is need to explore better ways in which district schools can improve the adoption of current and future technology innovations according to the perception and experience of the teachers to improve reading instructions, engagement and students’ overall performance in early childhood education. The researcher adopts a qualitative research approach, with data collected through observations, interviews, and questionnaires from 12 participants distributed: four kindergarten teachers, two assistant principals, two principals, and four first grade teachers. The research findings indicated that teachers and school administrators consider technology a fundamental tool for interactive instruction in early childhood education and promote learning.

Hsin, Li, & Tsai (2014) conducted a systematic literature review on empirical studies focusing on technologies’ influence on young children’s learning. The researcher reviewed 87 articles and journals published between 2003 and 2013, which were identified through the “Web of Science” database. Content analysis was adopted to establish research trends around the topic, with “Technology evaluation,” “adults’ roles,” and “teaching approaches,” having been identified as the primary emerging themes during the period 2003-2013. Close to one-third of the articles reviewed concerned children from immigrants and low-income families, while others had special needs. The research findings indicated that technology positively impacted the learners’ performance across various development domains. In the social domain, technology’s adoption improved children’s interaction and collaboration with others and developed “multiculturalism.” The study finding answers my research question on interactive academic programs on teacher effectiveness during ECE, facilitating interaction, and collaboration among the learners.


Johnson (2014) explores the ecosystem of interactive learning atmospheres, examining various theories, including behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism theories, and how they influence the interactive learning system ecology during early childhood education. The study is purely based on a literature review. Behaviourism is an interactive learning environment emphasis observable behaviors and manipulation of ecological contingencies such as positive reinforcement. Cognitivism explains the learning process and development based on intellectual and mental structure changes, while constructivism reflects the learners’ construction of knowledge. The theories are important in helping the teachers to understand how to shape interactive academic programs to suit the learners’ needs during the ECE years.

Kali, McKenney & Sagy’s (2015) study is a systematic literature review focusing on the understanding of “teachers as designers of technology-enhanced learning (TaD of TEL),” and how active involvement of teachers in the design through different ways can improve the quality of student learning and implementation of learning-assistive technologies. The researchers argue that advancement in technology has changed the nature of “teacher design work.” Teachers today “design and redesign, and customize not only analog but also technology-enhanced learning materials and activities.” Such include processes such as mapping. Understanding the teachers’ input in the design of learning technological programs is essential in implementing interactive academic programs to enhance teacher effectiveness and promote student learning during ECE years.

Kim’s (2020) study is descriptive research that aims to draw the educators and policymakers’ attention on creating a healthy and safe online environment suitable for learners, including ECE students, to develop their thinking skills and understanding of technologies for 21st-century learning. The study is inspired by the ravaging impact of Covid-19, which seems to be shifting many activities in including learning online. Early childhood teachers’ effectiveness in adopting technology is essential in embracing online learning for ECE students. ECE teachers’ attitudes and skills in the implementation of technology also affect students’ motivation and learning outcomes, hence worth understanding before implementing any form of technology. Early childhood teachers use interactive technologies in their instructional methods in many cases, but primarily as teaching tools to show videos and pictures. Additional roles are required to promote interactive online teaching if that will be the case in the new normal.

Konca, Ozel & Zelyurt (2016) explore the preschool teachers’ attitudes towards embracing technological tools to improve the learning experience and analysis based on different variables. The study is based on a descriptive research model with participants consisting of 103 teachers who are all kindergartens in Kırsehir and Malatya city center during the fall semester, 2014-2015. The researchers report that the preschool ecosystem still has numerous unresolved debates concerning the adoption of technology. Other factions argue that technology in the preschool setting is unnecessary and harmful, while others maintain that ICT is a crucial tool for supporting the learners’ development. The study results indicate that preschool educators have positive attitudes towards the adoption of the technological tool and material to promote learning. However, teachers mostly use technology for preparing everyday plans with less attention to technology in activities.

Early childhood education helps to avoid achievement gaps by developing social and cognitive skills required for school readiness. Developing interactive learning programs increases teacher effectiveness in handling students and, consequently, the learning outcomes. Interactive technologies, including assistive technology, are essential tools for developing interactive academic/learning programs, thus informing the discussion line in this research brief.


Hsin, C. T., Li, M. C., & Tsai, C. C. (2014). The influence of young children’s use of technology on their learning: A review. Journal of Educational Technology & Society17(4), 85-99.

Jilink, L., Fukkink, R., & Huijbregts, S. (2018). Effects of early childhood education training and video interaction guidance on teachers’ interactive skills. Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, 39(4), 278-292.

Johnson, G. M. (2014). The ecology of interactive learning environments: situating traditional theory. Interactive Learning Environments, 22(3), 298-308.

Kali, Y., McKenney, S., & Sagy, O. (2015). Teachers, as designers of technology-enhanced learning. Instructional Science43(2), 173-179. doi 10.1007/s11251-014-9343-4

Kim, J. (2020). Learning and teaching online during Covid-19: Experiences of student teachers in an early childhood education practicum. International Journal of Early Childhood, 52(2), 145-158.

Konca, A. S., Ozel, E., & Zelyurt, H. (2016). Attitudes of Preschool Teachers towards Using Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). International Journal of Research in Education and Science, 2(1), 10-15.

Martín, E., Roldán‐Alvarez, D., Haya, P. A., Fernández‐Gaullés, C., Guzmán, C., & Quintanar, H. (2019). Impact of using interactive devices in Spanish early childhood education public schools. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning35(1), 1-12.

Nusir, S., Alsmadi, I., Al-Kabi, M., & Sharadgah, F. (2013). Studying the impact of using multimedia interactive programs on children’s ability to learn necessary math skills. E-learning and Digital Media, 10(3), 305-319.

Van der Wilt, F., Boerma, I., van Oers, B., & van der Veen, C. (2019). The effect of three interactive reading approaches on language ability: an exploratory study in early childhood education. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal27(4), 566-580.

Willmann, K. L. (2017). Examining the integration of technology in the early childhood classroom. Walden University.