The cognitive and social influences of computer technology on profoundly deaf young children
This dissertation is located in the field of early childhood development. It is situated in the context of education for learners with special educational needs (ELSEN). The specific context was Deaf children who learn through the medium of South African Sign Language . The study is an investigation into the cognitive and social "value-addedness" of computer technology on profoundly deaf young learners. A Vygotskian theoretical framework was used to explore the efficacy of the computer as a tool for learning in the profoundly Deaf. Social and collaborative learning with peers was investigated. A case study was conducted with a cohort of seven profoundly Deaf Grade R learners (aged 516 years) at a special needs school in the Western Cape. The research methodology was an empirical investigation within a qualitative research paradigm, using observation and interviews. The report provides a descriptive account that makes use of illustrative vignettes. The study concludes that the computer influences social development within the cohort. The computer was also able to scaffold children's understanding of mathematical tasks and thereby provide a cognitive influence on learning.