Undoing the digital: sociomaterialism and digital education – new book announcement

We are delighted to announce the publication of the book “Undoing the digital: sociomaterialism and digital education” by Cathy Burnett and Guy Merchant.

Undoing the Digital challenges common ways of understanding digital technology and its relationships to literacy and literacy education. The book explores how a sociomaterial perspective can provide an alternative analysis of literacy in the context of digital communication.

Undoing the digital Cathy Burnett is the President of the UK Literacy Association and Professor of Literacy and Education at Sheffield Hallam University.  Guy Merchant is Professor of Literacy in Education at Sheffield Hallam University.  Both are longstanding friends of the Literacy Research Centre, including through a recent talk to the Literacy Research Discussion Group. Guy Merchant has held a joint ESRC seminar series grant with Julia Gillen and their joint publications include the edited book (with Jackie Marsh and Julia Davies) Virtual Literacies: interactive spaces for children and young people, and the article Gillen, J.  Merchant, G. (2013), Contact calls: Twitter as a dialogic social and linguistic practice.Language Sciences, 35, 47-58. 

This exciting new book is published in the Routledge series Literacies. The series editors are Uta Papen and Julia Gillen.

20% Discount

As you are a friend of the Literacy Research Centre, – we count you as a friend if you are reading this – you can obtain a 20% discount if you order during June 2020.  This offer is only available if you order directly through the routledge.com website and is not available in conjunction with any other offer.  You should enter the code FLR40 at checkout.

Digital personalization in young children’s reading

Today I’m starting a new series of blog posts.  I intend to announce notable new publications by friends of the Literacy Research Centre.  Number one is:

The future-gazing potential of digital personalization in young children’s reading: views
from education professionals and app designers, by Natalia Kucirkova & Rosie Flewitt in Early Child Development and Care, 190:2, 135-149

Here’s the abstract:

This paper reports on UK primary school teachers’ and children’s app developers’ views about the potential of using personalized digital resources to promote young children’s reading and play with ‘smart toys’. Many existing digital resources are ‘personalised’, that is, the content of a story or game is tailored to an individual child, and the content is adjusted to the needs and preferences of a specific user (either by an adult, such as a parent, or through algorithmic calculation by digital software). In this study, we focused on the role of digital personalization in children’s play with smart toys and in early reading with personalized books. Focus group interviews were conducted with 10 primary school teachers and 14 book and digital industry professionals, and the resultant audio-recordings were analysed using inductive thematic analysis. A dominant theme was participants’ association of digital personalization with the potential both to enhance and to jeopardize children’s and adults’ agency. Overall, the convergence of the digital and personalized aspects in some books and toys constituted a source of concern, with different views offered by the teachers and designers.

 

I had the pleasure of working with Natalia in a project, New Purposes, New Practices, New Pedagogies (NP3) after which we wrote Gillen, J. & Kucirkova, N. (2018) Percolating spaces: creative ways of using digital technologies to connect young children’s school and home lives. British Journal of Educational Technology 49(5) 834-846. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjet.12666. I worked with Rosie Flewitt in DigiLitEY. Together with Helena Sandberg, we’re currently working on editing a special issue of the Journal of Early Childhood Literacy on : Children under 3 at home: the place of digital media in their literacy practices.
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COVID-19 Where to find authoritative scientific information?

There has been a considerable amount of publicity about false information circling about the coronavirus during the current crisis.  News stories have also featured information that, even from official sources, is sometimes contradictory.  That is perhaps understandable in these fast moving times.  UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the umbrella of the research councils has moved extraordinarily fast and effectively to coordinate the work of various universities involved in researching the pandemic.

Get your facts straight about the science behind coronavirus and stay up to date with the latest information. #Covid19 #coronavirus

Coronavirus: the science explainedSocial1

 

Researching Early Childhood Literacy in the Classroom: Literacy as a social practice. New book written by Lucy Henning published

Uta Papen and I, the series editors of Routledge Research in Literacy, are very pleased to announce that the publication of this book by Lucy Henning.  We discussed her work back in August here. From the publishers’ description:

This volume demonstrates how the ethnographic approach to research demanded by a ‘Literacy as Social Practice’ perspective can generate fresh insights into what happens when young children engage with schooled literacy tasks.

Researching Early Childhood Literacy in the Classroom argues that the lived experience of young children encountering formal schooled literacy curricula should be the foremost consideration in educational reforms intended to improve rates of literacy acquisition in schools. To make this argument, the author suspends traditional concerns with ‘learning’ and ‘progress’ to concentrate on ‘practice’ and ‘meaning’ in a careful analysis of key classroom incidents. The author concludes that such insights suggest a need for re-considering the assumptions upon which educational policy rests.

This book will be of great interest to graduate and postgraduate students, researchers, academics, and libraries in the fields of Literacy Studies, Teacher Education, Education Policy and Applied Linguistics.

Lucy Henning is Senior Lecturer in English Education at the University of Roehampton. Before joining Roehampton, Lucy worked as a primary class teacher, school literacy lead and a literacy consultant for the Primary National Strategies.

“Making us proud: young children engaging with schooled literacy discourses” new article by Lucy Henning

Dr Lucy Henning, of Roehampton University, has shared with us this link to a free version of her latest article in the Cambridge Journal of Education.  (If the link has expired, write to Lucy.HenningATRoehampton.ac.uk).  Lucy has an book in production with the Routledge Research in Literacy series now co-edited by Uta Papen and myself. Her new book is called “Researching Early Childhood Literacy in the Classroom: Literacy as a social practice.”

Lucy writes, “I am currently doing some work on participant frameworks and young children’s in-class construction of literacy practices away from teaching adults. It similar to the work I did for my book, but now I am hoping to take a more in depth look at how the children organise their interactions as they reproduce their in-class peer culture. I am interested in exploring how far this process can actually be observed happening.

“I am drawing very much on the work of American linguistic anthropologists and ethnographers from the last century to inform this aspect of my work (Charles Goodwin, Marjorie Harness Goodwin, Erving Goffman) – I would be glad to make contact with colleagues whose current work is in a similar field.”

Julia Gillen