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This article explores the potential of User Groups as a professional development venue for early childhood educators in developing operational and functional competence in using hardware and software components of an Assistive Technology (AT) Toolkit. User Groups are composed of varying numbers of participants having an interest in technology, and are led by one or more skilled facilitators who meet with participants across time to help them acquire and demonstrate new technology skill sets. A series of these groups were conducted with seven early education professionals serving young preschool children who were at risk or who had disabilities. The impact of these User Groups was examined using self-reports subsequent to User Group participation. Specific data were collected regarding the types of technologies that had been used, and the types of classroom instructional products that had been created and implemented in classrooms using the technologies. A discussion of the value of User Groups is presented.

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This is an author-produced, peer-reviewed version of this article. The final publication is available at Copyright restrictions may apply. DOI: 10.1007/s10643-012-0548-3 Published title is "Technology User Groups and Early Childhood Education: A Preliminary Study."