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Hands, Fingers and iPads

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The Case of the iPad

Abstract

New touchscreen technologies have drawn attention to the materiality of literate behaviour. Reflecting on the concept of handiness, this chapter looks at meaning making as a kind of ‘engaged material consciousness’ (Sennett 2009) that depends upon but always exceeds the complex coordinations of hand and eye. Interrogating empirical materials gathered in a study of iPads in the early years, it shows young children and the adults that care for them engaged in complex negotiations and interactions that continually remake literacy, technology and learning.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    In his exploration of the development of writing Harris argues that the ‘presentation of writing most commonly depends on an artefact deliberately prepared for that purpose.’ (2001, p. 86). Here, I use the term inscription device rather than artefact because it offers a little more specificity, but the basic definition still holds.

  2. 2.

    A fascinating historical example of this is provided by Lamarre’s (2002) study of Japanese Heian calligraphy in which the text and the texture of the paper become part of the same poetic expression: ‘papers of various colour are pieced together like a crazy-quilt […] trails of dark ink run over lavenders, yellows, and reds that pool and stream…’ (p. 150).

  3. 3.

    The video data was gathered by my colleague and co-researcher Karen Daniels.

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Correspondence to Guy Merchant .

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Merchant, G. (2017). Hands, Fingers and iPads. In: Burnett, C., Merchant, G., Simpson, A., Walsh, M. (eds) The Case of the iPad. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-10-4364-2_15

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-10-4364-2_15

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