File(s) not publicly available

Teaching internet inquiry in the early years: a microcase of teaching practice with iPads

conference contribution
posted on 2016-09-13, 00:00 authored by Julianne LynchJulianne Lynch
This paper focuses on teaching practices intended to support primary school students’ internet inquiries and the development of requisite knowledge and skills. The paper builds on growing knowledge about multimodal pedagogy (e.g., Walsh, 2011) and how such pedagogies not only bring with them intrinsic benefits for student engagement and learning, but also offer opportunities to reinforce and refine traditional print literacies (e.g., McKee and Heydon, 2015). A microethnographic approach is taken, involving a close examination of short classroom episodes. The data include classroom video footage and teacher interviews concerning one lesson where students aged six, seven and eight undertook research using iPads. Within the lesson, the iPads were treated as a suite of resources, tools and channels to be put into operation in the service of student inquiries, where informational texts could be found on the internet and then used as sources for new knowledge and material for the students’ multimedia artefacts. Print literacy skills were similarly treated as resources to be drawn upon in the service of inquiry work. The data is assembled to provide a window into the complexities of teaching in this context, with a particular focus on how new and traditional literacy practices are interwoven. The analysis shows how digital and ‘non-digital’ resources, modes and channels are strategically assembled by the teacher and her students through the practice of fit-for-purpose inquiry, reading and composition strategies. An explicit discourse of purpose is put to work in this classroom to make sense of materials, resources and curricula within a context of contradictory policy discourses. Thus an approach to curriculum and pedagogy is illustrated that lays the foundations for crucial contemporary information literacies, serving our increasingly everyday need to make strategic use of digital and online tools to navigate the internet and shape it for our own purposes. The interdependence of traditional and new literacies in such contexts reveals the nonsense of dominant discourses found in the media that emphasise the importance of one mode or one method, as well as divisive public politics that seeks to perpetuate understandings of traditional and new literacies as dichotomous domains that compete for airtime in classrooms, resulting in teachers’ neglect of literacy ‘basics’. In contrast to popular fears, in this classroom, both digital and traditional literacy skills and knowledge were developed, employed and reinforced as part of the students’ digital work.



British Educational Research Association. Annual Conference (2016 : Leeds, Eng.)


British Educational Research Association


Leeds, Eng.

Start date


End date




Publication classification

X Not reportable; E3 Extract of paper

Copyright notice

2016, BERA

Title of proceedings

BERA 2016: Annual Conference for the British Educational Research Association