‘Evil cats’ and ‘jelly floods’: young children’s collective constructions of digital art-making in the early years classroom
- Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Digital technologies have the potential to offer new opportunities for children’s expressive arts practices. While adult expectations surround and shape children’s visual art-making on paper in the early years classroom, such expectations are not so established in relation to digital art-making. So how do children make sense of digital art-making when it is newly introduced into the classroom and adult input is minimal? Drawing on a social semiotic ethnographic perspective, this paper explores this question by examining instances of 4-5 year olds’ spoken dialogue around the computer during a week in which digital art-making was first introduced into the classroom. Analysis focused on interactions where children proposed, reinforced or challenged conceptions of digital art-making. These interactions demonstrated that children’s digital art-making was negotiated and constructed through particular processes. Three such processes are presented here: the use of collective motifs and metaphors; attributing ‘expert’ status; and polarizing conflicts. Understanding these processes offers a starting point for thinking about how a new activity like digital art-making can be integrated into the early years classroom and supported by practitioners.
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