A group of delegates from Working Group 2 met on the 27th and 28th of November 2017, as part of the working of the Group towards the development of an inquiry project to explore pre- and primary teachers’ experiences with and perceptions of digital literacy. The group convened in Nicosia, Cyprus and was comprised of the following members: Cathy Burnet (UK), Karen Daniels (UK), Izabela Jaros (Poland), Stavroula Kontovourki (Cyprus), Zuzana Petrova (Slovakia), Eufimia Tafa (Greece), and Anca Velicu (Romania). In addition, Ana Jorge (Portugal), Gudrun Marci (Germany), and Michael Klein (Germany) had the opportunity to discuss the workings of the meeting and future directions of the project over a skype meeting that took place on 5 December 2017.
On the first day of the meeting (27th November 2017), each of the group members reported on the findings from the teacher interviews conducted in their countries. Findings were discussed in terms of the ways in which teachers utilized digital technologies for personal reasons, the ways in which they utilized such media and tools for professional purposes, and the ways they perceived children as digital learners and users of digital tools/media. Findings also pointed to teachers’ perceived valued of digital technologies across the boundaries of their personal and professional contexts.
Despite differences, meeting participants identified commonalities across contexts. Those included a general sense of professionalism linked to the young age of children that the particular teachers served. In particular, many teachers expressed feelings of fear and protectionism which they linked to discourses of (early) childhood, literacy, pedagogy, and schooling. Linked to those were also themes regarding the very notion of technology. Particularly interesting were the conflicting ways in which technology was portrayed by teachers as non/material and thus with questionable place and value in early childhood literacy education.
These findings, as well as questions for further research, were presented by the group at the 2nd Literacy and Contemporary Society conference (http://www.pi.ac.cy/pi/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1815&Itemid=109&lang=en), which took place on the 28th and 29th of November 2017, in Nicosia. Specifically, the group organized a symposium, titled Early Years and Primary Teachers’ Experiences and Perceptions of Digital Literacies: Insights from a Cross-country Interview Inquiry, which was presented on 28th November 2017. In addition to the above, the group members discussed next steps and potentials for further development of the project.