Research into literacy and technology in primary classrooms: an exploration of understandings generated by recent studies

While much has been written about the implications for ‘literacy’ of practices surrounding digital technologies, there has been surprisingly little research investigating new literacies in primary classrooms. This review examines the kinds of understandings that have been generated through studies of primary literacy and technology reported during the period 2000–2006. It uses Green's distinction between ‘operational’, ‘cultural’ and ‘critical’ dimensions of primary literacy to investigate the focus and methodology of 38 empirical studies. It explores ways in which research may be informed by assumptions and practices associated with print literacy, but also highlights the kinds of studies which are beginning to investigate the implications of digital texts for primary education. The paper concludes by arguing for further ethnographic and phenomenological studies of classroom literacy practices in order to explore the complex contexts which surround and are mediated by digital texts.

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