Early adopters: Playing new literacies and pretending new technologies in print-centric classrooms

In this article, semiotic analysis of children’s practices and designs with video game conventions considers how children use play and drawing as spatializing literacies that make room to import imagined technologies and user identities. Microanalysis of video data of classroom interactions collected during a three year ethnographic study of children’s literacy play in kindergarten and primary classrooms reveals how the leading edge of technology use in print-centric classrooms is pretended into being by five-, six-, and seven-year-old ‘early adopters’ – a marketing term for first wave consumers who avidly buy and explore newly-released technology products. ‘Early adopters’ signals two simultaneous identities for young technology users: (1) as developing learners of new literacies and technologies; and, (2) as curious explorers who willingly play with new media. Children transformed paper and pencil resources into artifacts for enacting cell phone conversations and animating video games, using new technologies and the collaborative nature of new literacies to perform literate identities and to strengthen the cohesiveness of play groups.

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