4 November 2021

New Lenses for Understanding Young Children’s ‘In the Moment’ Digital Authoring at Home

This event was part of the Digital Child Seminar Series Engaging(socio)materially: Critical literacy, children and media.

The ARC Center of Excellence for the Digital Child acknowledges the First Australian owners of the Lands where this seminar was recorded and the Lands where presenters and participants work, live and walk. We pay respect to their Elders, lores, customs and creation spirits. We recognise that these Lands have always been places of teaching, research and learning. The Centre acknowledges the important role Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people play within our communities.


Dr Becky Parry, Dr Fiona Scott and Dr Liz Chesworth (University of Sheffield).


Chief Investigators Professor Annette Woods and Professor Michael Dezuanni

About the seminar

In this seminar, we draw on data from the ‘Creativity, Technology and Play’(Marsh et al., 2020) project, funded by the Lego Foundation, in order to focus on young children’s text production in the home. We examine two moments where children author texts and reflect on the culturally-inflected assemblages of materials, digital devices and people which combine to make this authoring possible.

Following Chesworth (2018), we apply three different lenses to analyse and interpret these ‘in the moment happenings’. Drawing on theories of new literacies, new materialism and multimodality, we reflect deeply on the ways in which these acts of authoring can be seen to constitute emergent critical literacies. We also aim to stimulate discussion about the ways that different theoretical lenses can work together to produce a holistic (Parry and Scott, 2019) multi-layered analysis of children’s volitional text productions. We will conclude by considering the implications of these ‘in the moment’ acts of  authoring and how they came to be, for parents, researchers of children’s engagements with media at home and early childhood educators.

References Chesworth EA (2018) Theorising young children’s interests: making connections and in-the-moment happenings. Learning, Culture and Social Interaction.

Marsh, J., Murris, K., Ng’ambi, D., Parry, R., Scott, F., Thomsen, B.S., Bishop, J., Bannister, C., Dixon, K., Giorza, T., Peers, J., Titus, S., Da Silva, H., Doyle, G., Driscoll, A., Hall, L., Hetherington, A., Krönke, M., Margary, T., Morris, A., Nutbrown,B., Rashid, S., Santos, J., Scholey, E., Souza, L., and Woodgate, A. (2020) Children,Technology and Play. Billund, Denmark: The LEGO Foundation.

Parry, B., and Scott, F. (2019). ‘Researching children’s play and identity in the digital age: a holistic approach’ in Erstad, O., Flewitt, R. Kümmerling-Meibauer and B., Pereira, I. S. P. The Routledge Handbook of Digital Literacies in Early Childhood. Routledge, London.

About the speakers

Dr Becky Parry is Programme Director of the new MA Digital Literacies, Culture and Education and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Becky is also a leading scholar in the emerging field of children’s film scholarship, focusing on gender and the representation of children and childhood in international films for children. Her research is situated within interdisciplinary studies of literacies and particularly focuses on the relationship between the digital texts children engage with and those that they create.

Dr Fiona Scott is a Lecturer in Digital Literacies in The School of Education at The University of Sheffield, where she is a Co-Director of the Literacies Research Cluster. Fiona’s work is focused on young children and their families and their engagements with digital texts and devices. She is particularly interested in family mediation of digital practices and ways digital practices vary in different contexts, including the role of social class.

Dr Liz Chesworth is a lecturer at the University of Sheffield where she directs the Early Childhood Research Cluster and the MA Early Childhood Education. Liz’s work focuses upon young children’s interests and play cultures in diverse contexts. Her recent research has investigated approaches to pedagogy and curriculum that are responsive to young children’s everyday lives, interests and playfulness.