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Childhood in the digital age
Childhood in the digital age

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3.2 What does the research evidence say?

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Figure 7 How successful are tablets in the classroom?

The evidence appears promising. Imagine the context in which young children can create their own digital stories using a combination of texts, images, videos and voice recordings or sounds.

The Open University research team has found strong indications that e-books and digital apps, such as Our Story, can lead to improvements in early literacy skills among both pre-school children (Kucirkova et al., 2013) and primary-age children (Flewitt et al., 2014).

For example, one of the main conclusions was:

with just a little support from our team and a lot of teacher dedicated time – spurred on by the children’s enthusiasm – the practitioners discovered creative uses for the iPads in their classrooms, and recognised benefits for children’s self-esteem and enthusiastic engagement with a range of reading and writing activities.

(Flewitt et al., 2014, p. 16)

The point must be emphasised that it is not the technology alone that supports learning; careful planning and sensitive support by confident teachers is needed to ensure the technology meets its intended goals.

If you would like to know more about the research connected to the Our Story app, read the article ‘Children’s agency by design: design parameters for personalisation in story-making apps’ [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .