Wednesday, July 26, 2006
I plan to be in Chicago next April for AERA 2007 . I’ll be promoting the Journal of Early Childhood Literacy and I’ll be focusing on my contribution to this research handbook. Here’s the abstract: “As new techno-literacy practices become embedded in society, they impact on ever younger age groups. The technological environment children inhabit directly involves literacy, both in the broadest sense of the term, and in the more specific domain of lettered representation. My work focuses on young children’s on-screen experience and particularly the productive aspect of writing-with-new-technology. I look at different ways of theorising changes in written communication and the relationship between these and curriculum design. This review of current research focuses on three areas: young children’s experience of digital writing in and beyond the classroom; ways of using ICT in the writing classroom; and the use and development of purpose-built classroom applications to promote digital literacy. The review highlights a shift of emphasis from whether to use ICT to how to use ICT in literacy, suggesting the need for more work that shows how digital writing can be embedded in classroom practice in ways that provide authentic contexts for learning and communication. However, because digital writing involves new kinds of skills and new kinds of social practices it cannot simply be grafted on to existing instructional practices and curricular objectives. We need to re-evaluate the ways in which writing is taught and develop our understanding of what constitutes writing development in digital environments. This will involve more exploration of what experiences, resources and guidance are most helpful in the early stages of emergent literacy, and working towards an understanding of the appropriate balance between experimentation, skill instruction and critical engagement with new writing tools and processes.” And….