Children’s Engagement with iPads in Early Years Classrooms: Exploring Peer Cultures and Transforming Practices
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Classroom resources, iPad apps included, are very often designed with clear pedagogical goals in mind. Currently, a range of apps available to schools, such as Hairy Letters © and Pocket Phonics Letter Sounds and Writing ©, are specifically designed to support skills commonly deemed important for print literacy development. This chapter draws on four video recorded episodes and focuses attention on children’s communicative repertoires as they interact with and around iPad apps, therefore providing insights into the ways in which digital technologies mediate children’s early literacy learning experiences. What becomes clear is that apps in classrooms offer sites for collaborative engagement where novel communicative repertoires can emerge. These repertoires, in some part shaped by the operational dimension and the multimodal affordances of the touchscreen device, quickly become integrated into children’s playful activity. Such activity, as children’s interests emerge and are played out, stimulates participation and gives rise to children’s peer cultures. When seen in this way, it becomes apparent that while apps may support elements of print literacies, the role of apps in children’s early learning experiences goes far beyond specific pedagogical goals.
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