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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