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Promoting Positive Technological Development in a Kindergarten Makerspace: A Qualitative Case Study


"As education communities grow more interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), schools have integrated more technology and engineering opportunities into their curricula. Makerspaces for all ages have emerged as a way to support STEM learning through creativity, community building, and hands-on learning. However, little research has evaluated the learning that happens in these spaces, especially in young children. One framework that has been used successfully as an evaluative tool in informal and technology-rich learning spaces is Positive Technological Development (PTD). PTD is an educational framework that describes positive behaviors children exhibit while engaging in digital learning experiences. In this exploratory case study, researchers observed children in a makerspace to determine whether the environment (the space and teachers) contributed to children's Positive Technological Development. N = 20 children and teachers from a Kindergarten classroom were observed over 6 hours as they engaged in makerspace activities. The children's activity, teacher's facilitation, and the physical space were evaluated for alignment with the PTD framework. Results reveal that children showed high overall PTD engagement, and that teachers and the space supported children's learning in complementary aspects of PTD. Recommendations for practitioners hoping to design and implement a young children's makerspace are discussed."