Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Education-Instruction and Curriculum: Early Childhood Education (M.Ed.)

Degree Program

College of Education

First Advisor

Sherie Klee, PhD

Academic Year



Young children are increasingly found to be spending their free time passively engaging with various types of digital technology. This has become one of the primary reasons why children’s time spent outdoors is diminishing. It has also led to an increase in negative health and developmental concerns. Children suffer from what has been deemed Nature Deficit Disorder, first coined by Richard Louv. Their lack of feeling connected with the natural world early on decreases the chances of them becoming a steward of that same world later in life. The studies have shown that although many believe young children should be kept away from technology, it can actually provide positive outcomes when used in a purposeful manner. By following guidelines put forth by early childhood professionals and researchers and with the support of key adults, it is possible for young children to have experiences with technology that are beneficial to their growth and development. With intentional planning of open-ended technology, children may be once again drawn to explore the outdoors through a new, empowering lens.