The use of technology is expanding at an increasing rate across the social and
economic sectors around the world (Can-Yașar, Inal, Özgün & Kandir, 2012). In the
South African education system, technology has weaved its way into the classroom.
The Department of Basic Education, together with various stakeholders, is increasingly
supporting schools with digital technology to strengthen teaching and learning
(Department of Basic Education, 2004). Educational technology and its
implementation in educational programmes have grown and developed concurrently,
and has opened up a new world for learners and teachers. Consequently, teachers
need to adapt and develop their teaching methods in order to utilise this evolution in
learning (Can-Yașar et al., 2012:375). Parette, Hourcade, Blum, Watts, Stoner, Wojcik
and Chrismore (2013:172) assert that learners grow up in an ever-changing world and
need to keep up with technology. It is therefore the responsibility of teachers to
understand the novel ways in which learners can harness developing technologies in
their efforts to learn. For these reasons, it is imperative for teachers to accommodate
modern thinking and to facilitate learner development.
The focus of my study is on teachers’ experiences in the use of digital technology to
support teaching and learning. The Technological Pedagogical and Content
Knowledge (TPACK) model developed by (Koehler & Mishra, 2006) provided the
theoretical framework used to support this study. Qualitative in nature and making use
of case studies, semi-structured interviews were held with ten participants to gather
the relevant data, attempting to answer the research question: How do early grade
teachers (R-3) experience the use of digital technologies as a resource to support
teaching and learning?
The findings suggest that early grade teachers are in favour of the use of digital
technologies in their classrooms to support teaching and learning. However, due to
various factors, it is not used and implemented successfully. It is recommended that
to improve the use of digital technologies, teachers must be fully trained and provided
with appropriate resources. Furthermore, continuous support from departmental
officials will strengthen the use of digital technologies and improve learner
performance and the quality of teaching and learning.