Toward a digitally supported, transgenerational co-exploration of young children’s knowledges of care

Chimirri, N. A. (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentationLecture and oral contribution

Description

In Denmark, many early childhood education and care institutions have heavily digitalized not only their administrative practices, but also their communicative as well as pedagogical ones via mobile screen media devices and accordingly programmed software applications. These are intended to assist in real-time managing and thereby optimizing the organizational resources of the institution, in keeping staff and parents synchronously posted on what is organizationally and pedagogically happening at the daycare center (including on what is expected of them), to support and enhance children’s and educators’ cross-media learning experiences, and – in some cases – to offer gamified teaching elements for standardizing the quality of the institutions’ educational outcomes. In short, these apps aggregate and consolidate a number of functions that come to co-constitute the key tasks of any daycare institution: early childhood educating and caring. And, as will be argued, the apps come to shape the knowledge of these key tasks, or more specifically: they come to shape which knowledges regarding education and care appear the most relevant in practice. The contribution draws on empirical material from participatory, psychological praxis co-research in two Danish daycare institutions in order to analyze how knowledges become renegotiated via the use of mobile screen media devices. It discusses how the digital organization of education and care affects the knowledges produced within the institution, as well as the knowledges that sustain the institution as purposeful in the everyday life of children, parents and educators. In particular, the discussion focuses on how knowledges of caring may be sociomaterially shifting, including how the significance of children’s knowledges in co-constituting acts of caring may become marginalized, given that their continuously developing caring agency cannot be meaningfully integrated into the adult-oriented processes of digitalizing institutional key tasks. It will be argued that knowledges and practices of caring instead become increasingly determined by preconfigured, abstract notions of what care implies – as can also be inferred from current debates of smart care toys, and of how they afford particular caring notions and actions by playing children (cf. Berriman & Mascheroni, 2018). Meanwhile, much of the pedagogical staff I collaborated with are highly ambivalent about such standardizing organization of care, as the educators have been used to co-exploring children’s caring knowledges and agencies in situated ways, across digital and analogue practices, and across the children’s everyday life contexts. The educators need to learn from the children about their caring knowledges and agencies so that the children can meaningfully learn about care from the educators. Such creative, necessarily mutual learning processes (Højholt & Kousholt, 2019) can also be purposefully promoted via digitally mediated, multimodal pedagogical projects, as will be illustrated via a long-term preschoolers project implementing a cross-media theatrical stage play, but that requires subsuming the digital media’s affordances to the affordances of mutual caring agencies and practices. Finally, therefore, the contribution proposes a pedagogical-analytical methodology of co-exploring each other’s knowledges and agencies of care – a co-exploration that can well be digitally supported by screen media and according software, but must essentially remain open for transgenerational, mutually caring renegotiations across analogue and digital pedagogical practices.
Period20 Sep 2019
Event titleChildren and Adolescents in the era of SmartScreens: Risks, threats and opportunities reloaded
Event typeConference
LocationSalamanca, Spain