Susan Danby is Professor in Early Childhood Education at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), and Program Leader of the Health, Wellbeing and Happiness program within the QUT Children and Youth Research Centre in Brisbane, Australia. Her research explores the everyday social and interactional practices of children, showing their complex and competent work as they build their social worlds with family members, peers and teachers within home and school contexts. She has published in the areas of qualitative research, helpline interaction, home and classroom interaction, early childhood pedagogy, and doctoral education. She is currently an Australian Research Council Future Fellow investigating young children’s everyday use of mobile technologies in home and school contexts.
Title of the keynote: “How do you make paper white?” Young children making connections using the Web
Very young children are engaging in complex strategies of Web searching at home and school. Using video-recordings collected from a number of ethnographic studies, I explore the experiences of preschool-aged children as they manage their knowledge worlds and their social worlds. The video-recordings show them searching, for example, for familiar places on the Web-based application Google Earth™ and initiating information searches exploring a diversity of topics, such as how to find their preschool and how to make paper white. I explore how they collaboratively negotiate these explorations. I also consider the resources they draw on as support in their search practices. Through talk around and about the Web, children gain access to local, community and global knowledge, as well as to technological understandings and practices. As well, they assemble social relationships and make sense of their social, physical and cultural worlds. What the children see and do on the digital screen shows complex, sustained and multifaceted knowledge construction and social interaction. Considering young children’s communicative competence as they connect with the Web, and with others, has implications for supporting their learning lives.