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    Writing and iPads in the Early Years: A Report for the Standing Conference on Teacher Education North and South


    Dunn, Jill and Sweeney, Tony (2017) Writing and iPads in the Early Years: A Report for the Standing Conference on Teacher Education North and South. Technical Report. Standing Conference on Teacher Education North and South.

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    Abstract

    This chapter sets out the rationale for the project and also sets out the policy context for literacy and digital technology in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Writing in a digital age: Beard (2000) argues that the ability to write, along with reading, is acclaimed as one of the twin peaks of literacy and one of the central gains from education. Writing is both a powerful form of expression and a vehicle for learning. It affords the learner the ability to reflect, think, compose, rearrange and respond (Andrews and Smith, 2011). However, writing is a complex and effortful activity and many children lose interest and motivation when asked to engage in writing. In a recent survey by the National Literacy Trust of pupils aged 8 to 18, just over 50% of children and young people said they enjoyed writing either very much or quite a lot. However, that leaves the other 50% who only enjoy writing a bit or not at all (Clark and Teravainen, 2017). Fewer children are engaging in daily writing outside of class but when they do write, it is technology based formats which dominate this writing (Clark, 2016). So whilst schools maintain what Yelland et al. (2008) refer to as a ‘heritage curriculum’ where value is attached to print texts, children themselves are appropriating and using digital technology for their own purposes in their daily lives. Indeed, McTavish (2014, p320) suggests that ‘for young children born into this technological epoch, there may be no choice, it is simply a way of being’. Many curriculum documents recognise and affirm the importance of communicating meaning through both traditional and digital texts yet print literacy continues to be privileged in classrooms (McKee and Heydon (2015). Therefore, this contradiction in rhetoric and reality is making it very difficult for educators to integrate new literacies and technologies within their classrooms (Wohlwend, 2009). Furthermore, where there is an emphasis on high-stakes testing, expanded views of literacy, beyond print-centric literacy practices, are difficult to achieve (Loerts and Heydon, 2017). With this apparent gap in what policy is advocating and what is happening in classrooms, it is important to look briefly at policy in the two jurisdictions for this study, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to set the context for the study.

    Item Type: Monograph (Technical Report)
    Additional Information: The authors would like to acknowledge and thank the Standing Committee of Teacher Education North and South (SCoTENS) for funding this project.
    Keywords: Writing; iPads; Early Years;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education
    Item ID: 9873
    Depositing User: Tony Sweeney
    Date Deposited: 04 Sep 2018 13:40
    Publisher: Standing Conference on Teacher Education North and South
    Funders: Standing Committee of Teacher Education North and South (SCoTENS)
    URI:

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