Crescenzi, L., Jewitt, C., Price, S. (2014)
Australian Journal of Language and Literacy Vol. 37, No. 2 pp86-95
Touch-based interaction is increasingly a key feature of digital learning environments, yet we know little about the specific ways in which digitally mediated touch reshapes interaction for very young children. This paper examines how finger painting processes, a common activity in early years learning environments, might change in digital (iPad) versus physical (paper) learning environments. It draws on the observations of nursery school participants, from and half to three years old, finger painting on paper and on the iPad, using similar digital painting/drawing activities. The analytical approach draws on multimodal methods of description and builds on multimodal procedures for working with video. In particular, the analysis focuses on different forms of touch-based interaction, to explore whether digital environments engender different kinds of touch and re-shape the character of the physical painting process. Findings indicate both quantitative and qualitative differences in types of touch across these two environments; and suggest that individual children demonstrate different repertoires of interaction, which may be linked to family practices and familiarity with technologies, such as touch screen and handheld devices. Findings are discussed in terms of the implications for learning and children’s mark making development, future research directions, and methodological implications for multimodal research approaches.
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