Research Aims and Questions

The project had four key aims, as follows:

  1. To identify young children's access to and use of popular culture, media and new technologies.
  2. (Key research questions: Which children have access to which media? What are the variations in access in relation to age, socio-economic status, gender and ethnicity? What are the patterns of use of popular culture, media and new technologies?)

  3. To identify parents'/carers' attitudes towards children's use of popular culture, media and new technologies.

    (Key research questions: How do parents/carers react to their children's use of these media? What do they feel are the educational opportunities afforded by these media? What interactions do they have with regard to the development of their children's skills, knowledge and attitudes when engaged with these media? What are parents' attitudes towards the development of media education in nurseries and early years settings?)

  4. To identify early years educators' knowledge of and attitudes towards children's use of popular culture, media and new technologies.

    (Key research questions: What do early years educators know about the media literacy practices of children in the home? What do they feel are the educational opportunities afforded by these media? What do they feel this range of media have to offer the communications, language and literacy curriculum in the early years setting? What are their attitudes towards the development of media education in nurseries and early years settings? What kind of professional development would they like to develop their practice in this area?)

  5. To evaluate the impact of a professional development initiative in which early years educators are supported in using the information about young children's popular culture and media practices to inform the communication, language and literacy curriculum.

    (Key research questions: How effective was the professional development programme in changing educators' attitudes towards the use of popular culture and media in the curriculum? What changes were made to the curriculum as a result of this work, and what were the effects of these changes in terms of children's levels of engagement in communications, language and literacy activities?)

The Digital Beginnings project is sponsored by BBC worldwide and the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation