Effects of computer-based learning on the language development of preschoolers in special education classrooms

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

First Committee Member

John H. Croghan, Committee Chair


The purpose of this quasi-experimental study was to investigate the effects of computer-based learning on the language development of forty-six 3-, 4-, and 5-year olds in preschool special education classes. Classrooms were randomly assigned to treatment (computer use) or control (no computer use) conditions. Treatment group subjects (n = 26) received three, twenty-minute sessions of computer-based language instruction weekly for sixteen weeks. Control group subjects (n = 20) received no computer-based language instruction. Commercially available software programs designed to reinforce and enhance language development were used, along with appropriate adaptive computer devices. A consultant visited the classrooms weekly to assist with technical computer problems and consult on individual student software needs.All subjects were pre- and posttested using a standardized test of global language development. Findings from an analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) with the pretest as the covariate, showed a significant treatment effect (p =.032).Teacher interviews, questionnaires, student logs and consultant observations provided qualitative data regarding staff development needs, microcomputer implementation issues, and software appropriateness. Results were summarized and suggestions for further research were offered. Appendices included a list of commercial language software and adaptive devices used as well as the post-treatment teacher questionnaire.


Education, Early Childhood; Education, Special; Education, Technology of

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