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Smart technologies in early years literacy education: a meta-narrative of paradigmatic tensions in iPad use in an Australian preparatory classroom

journal contribution
posted on 2014-01-01, 00:00 authored by Julianne LynchJulianne Lynch, Terri Redpath
With the revolution that has taken place in the functionality and uptake of portable networked ‘smart’ technologies, educators are looking to see what potential applications such technologies might have for school education. This article reports on a study into the use of portable personal computing devices in the early years of schooling. Specifically, it focuses on emerging patterns of use of Apple iPads in an Australian Preparatory (first year of compulsory schooling) classroom across the first year of implementation of these devices. We draw on student and teacher interviews and classroom observation data to provide a research meta-narrative of the intentions, practices and reflections of a ‘first year out’ teacher, and to discuss points of tension found in the contested space of early years literacy education, which are highlighted when potentially transformative technologies meet institutionalized literacy education practices. Our findings suggest that the broader policy and curriculum context of early years literacy education, and institutionalized practices found in this space, are potentially at odds with teacher-held intentions to transform learning through technology use, particularly with respect to tensions between print-based traditions and new digital literacies, and those between standards-based classroom curricular and more emancipatory agendas.



Journal of early childhood literacy






147 - 174


SAGE Publications


London, England





Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2012, The Authors