In this study, the influence of a 1:1 digital device on South African preparatory school teachers’ perceptions regarding their classroom practices is described. The focus is on the Chromebook as an ‘artifact’ of learning. Digital technology is becoming prevalent in all education spheres and, subsequently, interest in this topic is growing. In order to create an environment where optimal learning takes place, teachers and pupils should adapt their learning and teaching methods to embrace the effects of technology. Teachers are at the forefront of education and education trends involving digital devices are becoming a reality across all grades.
Qualitative research was conducted to gain insight into eight teachers’ perceptions on using a 1:1 digital device (the Chromebook) for teaching and learning in a private Gauteng school. The major findings were that teachers had to adapt their preparation, facilitation and assessment strategies to accommodate the use of the Chromebook in the classroom. This was mostly done successfully by the participants. The teachers realised that the Chromebook is a useful learning and teaching artifact or learning and teaching support material as a tool in the classroom. It enhances multimodal learning, encourages the inclusion of multiliteracies, and creates a third space of learning, where teachers and pupils cooperate in constructing new knowledge. A concern addressed by the teachers was that digital learning would have a negative impact on writing skills. They also stated that there should be a balance between technology and traditional teaching methods.
The most important recommendations are that teachers should change their attitude and their preparation and implementation of lessons when using the digital device in the classroom. Teachers should realise that pupils whose parents have the financial means and who have access to trending technology, today’s digital natives, have instant access to information and this has changed the way learning takes place. Although new to some teachers, the use of digital devices is second nature for many pupils of the 21st century. Teachers should embrace opportunities for professional development so that the digital device can be effectively incorporated in the learning process in the classroom.