One Screen, Many Fingers: Young Children's Collaborative Literacy Play With Digital Puppetry Apps and Touchscreen Technologies

This article examines the digital literacy practices that emerge when young children play together with digital apps on touchscreen devices. Children's collaborative composing with a digital puppetry app on a touchscreen—with many hands all busy dragging, resizing, and animating puppet characters, and many voices making sound effects, narrating, directing, and objecting—appears aimless, chaotic, and in sharp contrast to the orderly matching activities in prevalent letter and word recognition apps that dominate early childhood educational software. The crowded collaboration around a single touchscreen looks messy but produces a complex text built with (a) touches, swipes, and other embodied actions that make up digital literacy practices; (b) sensory or multimodal layers of colorful images, dialogue, sound effects, and movement that make up animated stories; and (c) negotiation and pooling of children's individual story ideas for shared pretense that make up playful collaboration—all contained on a 9.7 inch screen.

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