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EPRC is a leading institute in Europe for comparative research on public policy, with a particular focus on regional development policies. Spanning 30 European countries, EPRC research programmes have a strong emphasis on applied research and knowledge exchange, including the provision of policy advice to EU institutions and national and sub-national government authorities throughout Europe.

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Just picking it up? Young children learning with technology at home

Plowman, Lydia and McPake, Joanna and Stephen, Christine (2008) Just picking it up? Young children learning with technology at home. Cambridge Journal of Education, 38 (3). pp. 303-319. ISSN 0305-764X

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Abstract

We describe a two-year empirical investigation of three- and four-year-old children's uses of technology at home, based on a survey of 346 families and 24 case studies. Using a sociocultural approach, we discuss the range of technologies children encounter in the home, the different forms their learning takes, the roles of adults and other children, and how family practices support this learning. Many parents believed that they do not teach children how to use technology. We discuss parents' beliefs that their children 'pick up' their competences with technology and identify trial and error, copying and demonstration as typical modes of learning. Parents tend to consider that their children are mainly self-taught and underestimate their own role in supporting learning and the extent to which learning with technology is culturally transmitted within the family.