Exploring young children’s artefact engagements as premises for creating purposeful intergenerational knowledge of digitalized everyday life

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The presentation takes its point of departure in a major current expression of the top-down steering rationale in Danish Early Childhood Education and Care, namely the process of digitalization of childcare institutions. While the promotion of using digital artefacts in childcare can be seen as reflecting actual and seemingly unavoidable current transformations of the everyday life of adults and children across all societal practices, rendering the political wish to strengthening the digital media literacy of its ‘future citizens’ comprehensible, the ways in which digitalization is promoted by state policies accounts little for the ambivalences of digitalized everyday life at home and other relevant contexts. Instead of taking adults’ and children’s digital being seriously and granting opportunities to jointly explore digital artefacts’ possibilities and limitations, hence, childcare’s digitalization focuses primarily on children’s learning and thus becoming the future workforce, as well as on digital artefacts’ potentials for pedagogical staff to closely and comprehensively document and monitor this becoming.
Meanwhile, single municipalities and institutions relate differently to this top-down demand, at times creating dissent and creative ways for interpreting these demands. These dissenting understandings will be empirically explored from the standpoint of the involved subjects by engaging in participatory fieldwork grounded in the developmental practice research tradition. It is acknowledged, though, that dissent also always implies an alternative hope as well as temporary stabilizations of meaning. Therefore, it is of crucial importance to not only inquire into dissenting practices and knowledges, but also to how these relate to consenting practices and knowledges.
Pivotally, it cannot be presupposed that digitalization is merely understood as bane. With the project’s primary interest in approximating children’s specific everyday understandings of digital artefacts, their possibilities and limitations for acting on the world, the project seeks to contrast digital artefact engagement with how and why children more generally engage with any kind of sociomaterial artefact, creating joint knowledge through both dissensus and consensus. In order to ground digitalization in children’s as well as adults’ (well)being, the paper proposes that the analytical focus must be put on which hopes and wishes, and herewith which intergenerational knowledge of future engagements, are enacted when communicating with others on these artefact engagements – as this engagement already points to what knowledge is considered valuable and good when relating to certain artefacts. So are digital artefact engagements, entangled hopes and wishes, qualitatively really different than engagements with non-digital artefacts? And if this is the case, how are these specifically different?
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Event24th International RECE Conference: He korero, he kaupapa, he whāriki – Kia tipu whakaritorito: Re-weaving theories and practices to re(construct) critical questions, new imaginings and social activism - Wairakei Resort , Taupo, New Zealand
Duration: 30 Oct 20163 Nov 2016
Conference number: 24


Conference24th International RECE Conference
LocationWairakei Resort
Country/TerritoryNew Zealand
Internet address

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