University of Helsinki

Digital technologies: Collaborative spaces for children’s talk and play by professor Susan Danby

Digital technologies: Collaborative spaces for children’s talk and play by professor Susan Danby


Join us for a lecture on

Digital technologies: Collaborative spaces for children’s talk and play by professor Susan Danby, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Children and Youth Research Centre

When: Thursday 22.10.2015 klo 12–14

Where: Hall 166, Siltavuorenpenger 3A (Athena building, 1st floor), Helsinki

Intended audience: researchers, doctoral and master-level students

Abstract: We know that very young children actively construct their everyday lives through talk. That’s how they make sense of their social, play and learning worlds. While some are concerned that digital technologies may have adverse consequences for children’s language use, a contrasting view is that digital technologies are rich contexts for children’s collaborative talk with each other and with parents and teachers. It is this understanding that I explore by drawing on ethnographic studies of young children’s engagement with digital technologies. Video-recordings of digital practices in home, preschool and school settings show children’s everyday interactions around and about digital technologies, and allows us to investigate how they communicate with each other through their talk, gestures, and even laughter. Children tell stories, negotiate with each other, learn about their social and physical worlds, and engage in pretend and spontaneous play, all while also engaging and experimenting with digital technologies. Showing how moment-by-moment talk unfolds makes visible the affordances of digital and cultural practices of home and classroom life. Far from silencing children, what is being seen and done on the digital screen supports a multitude of opportunities for social interaction that are complex, sustained and multifaceted. Through talk around and about digital technologies, children gain access to local, community and global knowledge, as well as to technological understandings. In creating and understanding their social, cultural and physical worlds through digital technologies, they assemble their social relationships and make sense of their worlds. Such understandings invite reconsiderations of young children’s communicative competence, and the implications of including digital technologies into their learning lives.

Dr. Susan Danby is Professor in Early Childhood Education at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), and Program Leader of the Health, Wellbeing and Happiness program within the QUT Children and Youth Research Centre in Brisbane, Australia. Her research explores the everyday social and interactional practices of children, showing their complex and competent work as they build their social worlds with family members, peers and teachers within home and school contexts. She has published in the areas of qualitative research, helpline interaction, home and classroom interaction, early childhood pedagogy, and doctoral education. She is currently an Australian Research Council Future Fellow investigating young children’s everyday use of mobile technologies in home and school contexts.

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