Pen Portrait: Nichola Gough

I joined University Centre Doncaster to undertake a Foundation Degree in Early Childhood Policy and Practice in 2012. After successfully completing the Foundation Degree I decided to continue with my studies further by completing a BA (Hons) Top-Up in Early Childhood Studies. I have enjoyed the last four years studying at the University Centre, and through the knowledge and understanding gained I have been able to successfully progress within my chosen career pathway; Outreach worker based in a Children’s Centre.


The continuing developments of 21st Century technologies are producing an increased use of hand held electronic devices within early childhood (Siraj-Blatchford and Whitebread, 2005; Formby, 2014). Children are being introduced to technologies such as smart televisions, computers, smartphones, and tablet devices as well as other hand held appliances from an early age. Such technologies are becoming progressively popular within the home and becoming an accepted form of entertainment, whilst within school learning environments technology is becoming an increasingly popular tool for teaching, with the use of smart boards and i-Pads within the classroom.

The aim of the study is to examine how 21st Century technology is accessed by children and parents, and any significant effects this may have on children’s speech, language and communication development. The study gives particular focus to the use of hand held electronic devices within the HLE.

The research uses a multi method approach of data collection using parental questionnaires, field notes and a child focus group, and draws upon current research, government documentation and theories of language development to correlate the research findings.

Findings concurred that all 3 and 4 year olds within the case study are given access to hand held electronic devices within the HLE, which is often unsupervised by adults resulting in a reduction of social interaction taking place between the adult and child. Findings also suggest the lack of support or supervision given to children when accessing such devices could be having an impact on children’s speech, language and communication development from a young age.

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