Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Teaching & Learning


The purpose of this study was to explore the effect that the use of computer software which has been designated as more or less developmentally appropriate had on the language of young children. The guiding questions for the study were: (1) what common and varied patterns exist in children's language in response to software that has been designated by the Haugland/Shade Developmental Scale as more or less developmentally appropriate, and (2) how do individual and pairs of children respond to software that has been designated as more or less developmentally appropriate for children in their age range? Four pieces of software which varied in developmental appropriateness according to the developmental scale were selected to be used by dyads of preschool children. Eight videotaped observations were made of three dyads using all possible high/low pairings of the software. The investigator kept a log during the computer observations and also observed each participant during an activity time in the classroom. The videotaped observations were transcribed, sorted and analyzed for common and varied patterns of language for each software program and for each dyad across all four software programs. Analyzed patterns of language included use of Tough's seven categories of language, talkativeness conflict and cooperation, and language play. Tables of qualitative data were compiled to facilitate holistic analysis. Descriptions of common and varied patterns for each software program and for each dyad were written by integrating all of the data. Results of the study indicate that there was greater use of Tough's language categories of self/group maintaining, directing, and reporting than there was of reasoning, predicting, projecting and imagining. Use of the four latter categories was noted more often with the most developmentally appropriate software used in the study. Since one of the least developmentally appropriate programs produced patterns of language similar to the most developmentally appropriate program in terms of use of Tough's categories and talkativeness, questions remain concerning what factors other than developmental appropriateness may affect the language of dyads during computer use and concerning the criteria used to determine developmental appropriateness.