Report on COST Action meeting in Tallinn, Estonia, 19th – 20th October, 2015

Nov 25, 2015 | Share

This very successful meeting was kindly hosted by Professor Sirje Virkus of the University of Estonia. The meeting was held in conjunction with the 3rd European Conference on Information Literacy. 73 COST Action attendees joined with over 350 ECIL attendees to participate in keynote sessions, networking lunches and dinner.

The COST Action meeting and ECIL conference began with an excellent keynote from Professor Sonia Livingstone of the London School of Economics. Sonia presented a summary of the research of the EU Kids Online network to date, which offered a strong platform for the future work of the Action.

 Listening to Sonia Liviingstone

Participants listening to Professor Sonia Livingstone’s keynote

The Action participants then participated in a workshop in which key theoretical frameworks that will underpin the work of the Action were discussed. The discussions will inform an Action ‘White Paper’ which will be published in the spring.

Following the workshop discussions, Stephane Chaudron of the European Commission Joint Research Centre presented a summary of progress on the cross-European project she is leading, which is exploring the digital literacy practices of young children. The report from the pilot study has been published and the subsequent research is progressing well, with 12 countries involved to date.

The afternoon of the first day was spent in Working Group sessions. Members were engaged in activities relating to the aims and objectives outlined in the MOU.

At the end of the first day, a policy seminar was held. Ulle Taliharm, Adviser for Libraries in the Estonian Ministry of Culture and Imbi Henno from the Ministry of Education and Research of Estonia participated in a discussion on the aims of the Action in order to help ensure that the Action focused on the needs and interests of Estonia in this topic.

The evening dinner was a wonderful event, with traditional Estonian dancers entertaining the guests. The dinner provided an opportunity for ECIL delegates and Action attendees to join together to discuss ways in which future collaborative work might take place.

Estonian Dancesr with delegates

Traditional Estonian Dancers entertaining delegates

The second day of the Action meeting opened with a fascinating keynote from Professor Susan Danby of Queensland University of Technology, Australia. She shared her research on young children’s web searching, which was a topic of interest both to Action participants and ECIL delegates.

Prof Susan Sanby Keynote

Professor Susan Danby’s keynote session

The keynote was followed by the second round of Working Group meetings. Working Groups 1 and 4 hosted a joint session which focused on Academic-Industry collaboration. Representatives from the companies LEGO and SkillPixels discussed the ways in which their companies engaged in research. Dr Dylan Yamada-Rice from the University of Sheffield, UK, shared her work that had been undertaken in collaboration with a range of media partners. The session developed important understanding about the strengths and challenges of working with industry partners in research on young children’s digital literacy practices.

Dr Helle Jensen with Lego

Dr Helle Strandgaard Jensen with contributors from LEGO

The final sessions of the Action meeting were the Management Committee meeting and Steering Group meetings. These enabled a series of important decisions to be made about future developments in the Action. At the meeting, the first plans were developed for a ‘Handbook of Young Children’s Digital Literacy’ which will provide reviews and syntheses of research in the field and will be published towards the end of the Action.

The meeting ended with a plenary session in which Professor Lelia Green and Dr of Edith Cowan University, Australia, shared their plans for a forthcoming project on parenting in a digital age. Professor Jackie Marsh then disseminated key findings from a recently completed project, ‘Exploring Play and Creativity in Pre-Schoolers’ Use of Apps’.

The meeting was very successful and was a significant step in launching the work of the five Working Groups of the Action. We look forward to the next meeting, to be held in Nicosia, Cyprus, 17th – 18th March, 2016.

The slides from the keynote sessions can be downloaded below:

Modelling children’s experiences of online skills, opportunities and risks: a European perspective

Professor Sonia Livingstone, London School of Economics, UK


How do children’s digital skills and media competences relate to their experiences of online opportunities or risks? How do efforts to measure and model children’s mediated lives inform the development of policy?  This presentation will reflect on the interdependencies between these two questions by discussing the approach to evidence-based policy developed by the European research network, EU Kids Online. Our work has encompassed the crucial period in which many European children gained routine internet access, seeing how they have embedded digital media of all kinds in their learning, domestic and social lives, and tracking the extent to which this has amplified the range and depth of opportunities and risks in their everyday experience. Although the network focused mainly on 9-to 16-year-olds, its recent work has also encompassed younger children, reflecting the fact that they too are becoming internet users and digitally-skilled. How has its approach, measures, explanatory model and dialogue with stakeholders evolved? And what difficulties has it encountered that future researchers and policy makers might learn from?

Read More Here

“How do you make paper white?” Young children making connections using the Web

Professor Susan Danby of Queensland University of Technology, Australia.

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.

Read More Here

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