Changing learning ecologies in early childhood teacher education: From technology to STEM learning

Xinyun HU, Nicola YELLAND

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


This review examines the design cycles of innovation in response to changing policy, technological and practical imperatives. It begins with the initial creation of an information and communication technology course in an early childhood teacher education program and describes its evolution into a contemporary topic. Program changes occur because of policy-driven trends, including the expansion of the definition of what constitutes technology and the incorporation of innovations into curricula and pedagogical practices. We characterize these changes in three design cycles. In the first cycle, courses to prepare preservice teachers for early childhood centers focused primarily on computer-based skills. In the second cycle, new technologies were integrated into the curricula and teaching programs and incorporated into the practicum. In the third cycle, the principles and practices inherent to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (stem) education were adopted to extend the role of new technologies in contemporary curricula and pedagogies. These new learning ecologies were characterized by the application of inter-disciplinary knowledge in authentic learning contexts. The reviewed case studies included students in three new technologies course projects in an early childhood teacher education program. The findings revealed that early childhood preservice teachers expected more opportunities to practice and apply new technologies in innovative learning spaces focused on stem learning. Furthermore, they believed that university teacher education courses should be applicable to practice-based contexts. The implications of this review inform the process of change in the design of teacher education programs from technology-based learning to the pedagogical innovations needed to prepare future teachers. It illustrates that new technologies for learning should consider changing learning ecologies in their design and implementation, and should support early childhood teachers in understanding and using child-centered pedagogical approaches. Copyright © 2019 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)488-506
JournalBeijing International Review of Education
Issue number2-3
Early online date29 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


Hu, X., & Yelland, N. (2019). Changing learning ecologies in early childhood teacher education: From technology to STEM learning. Beijing International Review of Education, 1(2-3), 488-506. doi: 10.1163/25902539-00102005


  • STEM
  • Digital technologies
  • Early childhood education
  • Teacher education


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