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