Multimodal Lifeworlds: Pedagogies for Play Inquiries and Explorations


  • Lorna Arnott University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland, U.K.
  • Nicola J. Yelland The University of Melbourne, Australia


multimodal lifeworlds, early childhood pedagogy, new technologies, digital identity, early childhood education


In this paper, we advocate a reconceptualisation of early learning in the 21st century in the form of multimodal lifeworlds. We review the research literature on the role of new technologies for young children’s learning, both in their homes and in educational contexts. We contend that, in order to make our work accessible, and to describe the ways in which digital artefacts can create new contexts for learning, we should foreground the learning that is possible in contemporary multimodal learning ecologies. We raise complex questions and issues that require consideration as we plan for pedagogies that will encourage, support and transform children’s learning. The paper presents an understanding of new and continually evolving technologies as artefacts that inhabit the contemporary child’s lifeworld. These resources form part of their suite of learning devices, which impact on children’s identities, learning ecologies and how they make meanings of self. Finally, we present a possible conceptualization, which combines these elements that are relevant for pedagogical planning, discussed in the article, to consider how new technologies, as social, cultural and personal artefacts can contribute to children’s learning ecologies.