Emerging Digital Literacies and Young Children

Can you to find the sharrow?  We teach abc’s, but do we teach ↧, ?, or ?? Young children build with wooden blocks, but can they build with coding blocks? This session will expand our definition of emerging literacies for young children and explore different methods of (digital) literacy instruction, along with hands-on exploration.

This session will provide guidance on how to ensure young children (and parents and teachers) don’t just see screens, iPads and robotics as noisy distractions, but as innovative creation and problem solving tools that support a variety of literacies and modes of expression.
Young children can operate a cell phone before they can walk. They skype with family before they can talk. They are digital natives, living in a rapidly changing digital landscape. As Educators (and parents!) to these children, we need to appreciate their level of comfort and familiarity with screens and digital tools, and rather than be limiters, be knowledgeable mentors and guide students to use the tools effectively.  We want to move young children along the continuum from consumers to critical consumers. From critical consumers to creators. From creators to critical creators. Through these emerging literacies, students are empowered to offer real value and real solutions to society.


  • Define Digital and Emerging Literacies
  • Examine current literature around new literacies and their implications for the  and (possibly debunk myths surrounding Screen Time)
  • Explore a variety of ‘literacy’ and/or creation apps and identify common icons/work flow sequences
  • Explore a variety of coding apps, and robotics, and ‘tinkering toys’ and identify opportunities for inclusion in Literacy programs?
  • Create your own ‘learning take away’ Digital Story or Code your own ‘learning take aways’ project with using Scratch Jr. or Robotics Playground (Projects could be exemplars for your students, “PD”  to share with others, or simply a documentation of your own learning and new understandings)
  • Creations will be shared and reflected on at the end of the Session

About Holly

14 years experience as a Lower Primary and Early Years Teacher.  Work experience in Canada, Congo and Switzerland. Recent switch to Ed Tech Coach, focussing in LP and EY and documenting learning. Seesaw Ambassador, Google Certified Educator and Coetail graduate. Passionate about expanding traditional definitions of literacy and integrating tech in the early years.

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