Point and click : theoretical and phenomenological reflections on the digitization of early childhood education
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionMangen, A. (2010) Point and click : theoretical and phenomenological reflections on the digitization of early childhood education. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 11(4), 415-431 10.2304/ciec.2010.11.4.415
This article presents some theoretical-methodological reflections on the current state of the art of research on information and communication technology (ICT) in early childhood education. The implementation of ICT in preschool has triggered considerable research activity on the educational potential of digital technologies. Numerous projects and studies are being carried out in several disciplines; however, there is little or no interdisciplinary exchange. In this article, the author presents and justifies a theoretical-methodological alternative – namely, piecemeal theorizing. Piecemeal theorizing consists in posing precisely formulated questions at different levels of generality, the pursuit of which will necessarily lead the researcher(s) in several disciplinary directions. The author suggests a mode of research conducted by multidisciplinary and piecemeal theorizing of precisely defined and demarcated questions at different levels of granularity, hence accumulating partial answers resulting in theory development and scientific progress – however incremental – in the field. By drawing on theories and perspectives from fields such as cognitive neuroscience, media psychology and phenomenology, we might be in a position to better address some fundamental and largely unaddressed questions pertaining to the potential impact of digital technology on children’s learning. Specifically, the article focuses on one such question – namely, the particular intangibility of the digital – and reflects on the potential implications of this intangibility for learning and literacy development. The aim is thence to provide an alternative conceptual, theoretical and epistemological framework for studying the experiential impact of digital technology on preschoolers’ literacy development.
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