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The early years technological landscape : reflecting on digital childhoods for pedagogic planning

Arnott, Lorna and Karagiannidou, Eleni and Yelland, Nicola (2017) The early years technological landscape : reflecting on digital childhoods for pedagogic planning. In: 27th European Early Childhood Educational Research Association Conference, 2017-08-30 - 2017-09-01, University of Bologna.

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This paper focuses on technology use in early childhood: how we define new technologies; how technologies are shaping childhoods; and what we mean by play with technologies. We describe the contemporary landscapes, that have the potential to enrich children’s early experiences. We build on ecological explorations of technology use in the early years (Arnott, 2016); broadening understandings of technologies (Bers and Horn, 2010; Livingstone et al., 2015) and a decade-long progression of work on play in the digital age (Yelland, 1999; 2011). We adopt a framework of cultural capital (Bourdieu 1993, 1998) which postulates that educational centres play a critical and increasingly pervasive role in perpetuating the advantage of specific knowledge and skills that are valued by society across generations. The empirical elements of the paper used participant observation to create narratives of everyday practice (Mikos cited in Struppert 2011). Appropriate ethical consents were obtain and data disseminated in line with the EECERA Ethical Code (2015). The paper present three findings. We suggest that definitions of ‘new technologies’ must move beyond screen-based media to authentically capture their place in children’s lives (Arnott, 2017). We argue that the multifaceted nature of technologies is altering the ways in which children learn (Karagiannidou 2017). We conclude with empirical examples of this shift in the learning process to describe how the nature of children’s play has become multimodal (Yelland and Gilbert 2017). The paper provides a theoretical foundation within which to position explorations of children’s use of new technologies as part of digital childhoods.