Pedagogical approaches to digital literacy in early years education

Authored by: Stavroula Kontovourki , Eufimia Tafa

The Routledge Handbook of Digital Literacies in Early Childhood

Print publication date:  July  2019
Online publication date:  July  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138303881
eBook ISBN: 9780203730638
Adobe ISBN:


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Since the beginning of the 2000s, there has been much discussion about the role of digital technologies in early years education – in both early childhood educational settings and early primary classrooms (e.g. Plowman and Stephen 2003; Burnett 2010). While public discourse often focuses on the risks and (in)appropriateness of digital media use by young children, professional groups and researchers have been calling for the integration of digital tools and practices in early years education, drawing mostly on two lines of reasoning. First, it is argued that digital technologies are already part of children’s family and community lives and that the integration of technology in early education classrooms would therefore help to bridge the gap between children’s out-of-school and in-school literacies (e.g. Parette et al. 2010; Szmodis and Columba 2013; Edwards 2016; Palaiologou 2016). Second, the inclusion of digital technologies and diverse symbolic resources in early years education is seen as an imperative for children’s later learning and participation in an ever-changing digital world (Forzani and Leu 2012; Laidlaw and Wong 2016). Ensuring access for all children, regardless of their personal and social characteristics, is then a matter of their preparation for the future as well as of educational equity (Husbye et al. 2012; Wohlwend 2015, 2017).

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