Just picking it up? Young children learning with technology at home

Lydia Plowman, Joanna McPake, Christine Stephen

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132 Citations (Scopus)
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We describe a two-year empirical investigation of three- and four-year-old children's uses of technology at home, based on a survey of 346 families and 24 case studies. Using a sociocultural approach, we discuss the range of technologies children encounter in the home, the different forms their learning takes, the roles of adults and other children, and how family practices support this learning. Many parents believed that they do not teach children how to use technology. We discuss parents' beliefs that their children 'pick up' their competences with technology and identify trial and error, copying and demonstration as typical modes of learning. Parents tend to consider that their children are mainly self-taught and underestimate their own role in supporting learning and the extent to which learning with technology is culturally transmitted within the family.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-319
Number of pages17
JournalCambridge Journal of Education
Issue number3
Early online date10 Sept 2008
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2008


  • technology
  • culture
  • early childhood education
  • informal education
  • parents


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