Investigating pupils’ interactions around digital texts: a spatial perspective on the “classroom-ness” of digital literacy practices in schools

This paper complements debates around use of new technologies and literacy in education by proposing a focus on “classroom-ness.” It highlights the significance of incidental, everyday and ephemeral practices associated with classroom technology-use. Using examples from a study of primary pupils’ interactions around digital texts, it argues that we must acknowledge the distinctiveness of technology-use in classroom contexts but also see the spaces associated with those contexts as continually constructed, relational and heterogeneous. This helps us look beyond binary distinctions – between in/out of school and global/local practices, on/off-screen and on/offline activity, material/virtual contexts and official/unofficial discourses – to recognise the complex and nuanced ways that children make meaning around new technologies. It is proposed that this theoretical lens – in recognising the complexity of classroom-ness – can help us better understand the barriers and opportunities associated with effective integration of new technologies in educational contexts.

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