Children's story making with digital technologies: Tool-mediated activities in a preschool class
Narrating has a long tradition within early childhood education and serves, among many things, as a means of engaging children in literacy activities. With the advent of digital technologies, different contexts are created that provide opportunities for multimodal ways of narrating. The overall purpose of this licentiate thesis is to investigate what kind of activities emerge when six-year olds are instructed to narrate with digital technologies, and how the teacher, the technologies and cultural tools, such as language, symbols and other physical artefacts, mediate the story-making activities. The present thesis consists of an extended summary and two empirical studies on instructional activities performed within the context of a preschool class setting. The first study explores what kind of activities emerge when the children in collaboration write stories using word processor and speech-synthesized feedback computer software applications. In the second study the software provides illustrating images designed especially for story making. A particular interest in this study is to analyse how the in situ activities evolve, and to clarify how the children’s final products come to vary. The empirical material was generated with the use of video observations and the analysis was informed by sociocultural theory. The mutual findings in the two studies show that the art of narrating forms the background of the teacher’s introduction and her scaffolding, and as a consequence, two agendas can be discerned in terms of the children orienting themselves foremost to making a story and handling the technologies, whilst the teacher foregrounds writing. The inherent possibilities provided by the different digital technologies, for example, support in transforming print into audible sound or thematically organised images constitute an incentive for the children’s story making, but also a constraint due to the children having difficulties handling the software and devices.
Licentiate thesis within the National research school, Nationella forskarskolan för ämnesdidaktik i mångfaldens förskola. Förutsättningar och möjligheter för barns språkliga och matematiska utveckling och lärande (FoBaSM), no. 2