Meaning-Making and Digital Languages. Technology as a Creative and Expressive Language: New Research

Creative-Technology2The digital environment is often offered to children as a tool to find and consume information and as a fun and interactive way to develop skills and techniques though games.  Often, iPads are used by teachers in increasing ways for assessment systems and record keeping – a one stop shop for teaching and measuring.  For young children, the dominant discourses focus on limiting screen time and the effects of devices on children’s communication, social skills and language development.  

 

I am working with 5 Early Childhood settings in the West Midlands in the UK and 5 Pre-Schools in Stockholm, Sweden on a collaborative research project funded through Erasmus Plus to approach the use of digital technologies in different ways.   We are choosing to research how digital technology can be used with young children through creative and expressive approaches in an enquiry based approach to learning.  We are focusing our research around a meta project that is researching children’s relationship with the natural world of growing, sustainability and ecology.  We are focusing on the close connection between materials of the world, the world of the digital and traditional languages/materials that we use with young children.  Therefore this is not a project that separates out ICT from other areas of learning but rather one that connects it to a creative and reflective pedagogy facilitated through active exploration, within a culture of hypotheses and experimentation.  We feel that this approach is active in its choices to propose poetic contexts, where everyone is a co-protagonist that can investigate the relationships of the world through multiple points of view, sensorial sensibilities and playful, curious interests.

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The research, with its tools and languages will explore areas of real/virtual/ imaginary contexts, 2D and 3D dimensionality, graphics, sounds, musicality, dance, drama, storytelling, seeking always the unexpected and diverse ways of children’s meaning making.  We aim to look for relationships, patterns, between the subject under investigation that challenges traditional categorisation.  We welcome the idea that there are many multiple and simultaneous ways of seeing and thinking.  We see uncertainty as a place of possibility and knowledge as a fluid and ever evolving state open to variation, diversity and change.

The digital space and the technological tools available are an invitation to explore these just as one might research the children’s approaches to clay or drawing as a way of making and expressing meaning, as a language of finding out about the world, of constructing together a narrative of learning.  We hope therefore to challenge the dominant methodologies and discourses and propose new pedagogies of the digital.

 

The Schools involved are:

Ashmore Park Nursery School, Wolverhampton, UK

Hillfields Nursery School and Children’s Centre, Coventry, UK

Madeley Nursery School, Telford & Wrekin, UK

Phoenix Nursery School, Wolverhampton, UK

Woodlands Primary and Nursery School, Telford & Wrekin, UK

Lange Erik Pre-School, Stockholm, Sweden

Barnasinnet Pre-School, Stockholm, Sweden

Vintergatan Pre-School, Stockholm, Sweden

Smh Vänner Pre-School, Stockholm, Sweden

 
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We are very happy to be funded by Erasmus Plus in our shared research into new digital pedagogies with young children.

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4 thoughts on “Meaning-Making and Digital Languages. Technology as a Creative and Expressive Language: New Research

  1. I am very excited about the areas of exploration in which you are involved. It is particularly interesting to learn about the ways in which your work challenges the dominant methodologies and discourses and propose new digital pedagogies. I would like to invite your participation in a US-based initiative that is also involved in challenging work: http://www.diversityinapps.com. DIA is a group of concerned and commited individuals looking at ways to infuse the voices of people not represented as content producers, or as creators and developers in the digital media and technology industries. My particular interests are in the areas of educational transmedia for young children (ages 3-5), and creating environments that enable young children to explore, create, and engage through opportunities that infuse reflective pedagogical approaches that are culturally relevant. Thank you for the work you do. I will look forward to seeing you on the DIA site. Best- Ed Greene, VP, Partnerships &Community Development. The Hispanic Onformation and Telecommunications Network (HITN) Brooklyn, NY (egreene@hitn.org)
    http://www.hitn.org

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  2. Thank you for your interest in our work, what you are looking at through your organisation is a crucial and grounding element of our work. We are interested too in the diversity of voice and narrative of young children using and designing digital content. I would love to find out more about your work and will be engaging with the DIA site. Thank you for the connection! debikeytehartland@mac.com

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