Open-Ended Apps in Kindergarten: Identity Exploration Through Digital Role-Play

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Monica McGlynn-Stewart
Leah Brathwaite
Lisa Hobman
Nicola Maguire
Emma Mogyorodi

Abstract

This 2-year research study followed 14 kindergarten classrooms in Ontario as they used open-ended tablet applications to support literacy learning. Through multimodal slideshows the children explored identities such as reporter, teacher, and architect during self-initiated role-play.  The slideshows they created demonstrated multimodal productions that were longer, more complex, and more varied than their literacy production with traditional literacy tools and practices. Rather than supplanting traditional kindergarten meaning-making practices such as role-play, children folded digital affordances into their play in ways that expanded the range of identities they explored and the tools and practices with which they explored them.

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How to Cite
McGlynn-Stewart, M., Brathwaite, L., Hobman, L., Maguire, N., & Mogyorodi, E. (2019). Open-Ended Apps in Kindergarten: Identity Exploration Through Digital Role-Play. Language and Literacy, 20(4), 40-54. https://doi.org/10.20360/langandlit29439
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Articles
Author Biographies

Monica McGlynn-Stewart, George Brown College

Monica McGlynn-Stewart (Ph.D.) is a professor in the School of Early Childhood at George Brown College, Toronto, Ontario. She teaches courses in curriculum, policy, and research methods. She is a former elementary teacher, principal, and consultant. Currently, she is the Principal Investigator on the federally funded research project, Toys or Tools? Using Tablet Applications for Open-Ended Literacy Learning. Her research interests include teacher action research, student engagement, literacy learning and teaching in the early years, and digital technology mediated learning and teaching.

Leah Brathwaite, George Brown College

Leah Brathwaite is a fourth year student in the Early Childhood Leadership degree program at George Brown College. She has a background in computer technology, and works part-time as an Early Childhood Assistant to children from Kindergarten to grade 7. She is currently a Student Researcher on the federally funded research project, Toys or Tools? Using Tablet Applications for Open-Ended Literacy Learning. Her research interests include early childhood program quality, literacy learning in the early years, and digital technology use in the early years.

Lisa Hobman, George Brown College

Currently, Lisa Hobman is working with the YMCA of the Greater Toronto Area as an Registered Early Childhood Educator (RECE). She has been involved with the Toys or Tools? project since the beginning and hopes to continue studying the impact of technology on early years pedagogy in a Masters program in the near future. 

Nicola Maguire, George Brown College

Nicola Maguire (MA) is a part-time faculty in the School of Early Childhood at George Brown College and a Research Assistant on the federally funded research project, Toys or Tools? Using Tablet Applications for Open-Ended Literacy Learning. She also supports students in school settings with their use of assistive technology devices. Her research interests include children’s outdoor play, digital technology uses for learning and teaching, and arts-based curriculums.

Emma Mogyorodi, Ryerson University

Emma Mogyorodi (B. ECL, RECE) is a graduate student at Ryerson University. She also teaches an early childhood musicianship class in Toronto. She previously served as the Early Childhood Music Coordinator at The Royal Conservatory. In addition to her studies and teaching, she works as a research assistant for Toys or Tools? Using Tablet Applications for Open-Ended Literacy Learning under the supervision of Dr. Monica McGlynn-Stewart. Her research interests include digital technology, literacy learning, and music education.