In this poster I am presenting my licentiate project on digital documentation in Swedish preschools. The aim of the study is how participation and democracy are constructed and enacted in (pedagogical) documentation in a preschool using digital media.
In July 2011 a revised curriculum for Swedish preschool came into force, including a whole new chapter emphasizing preschools’ obligation to systematically document and evaluate their quality. It furthermore states that children (and parents) shall be able to participate in this evaluation (Skolverket, 2010). Documentation is considered a means for developing everyday preschool. Albeit not supposed to evaluate individual children, each child’s development and learning should be documented and analyzed, which might seem contradictive. Studying documentation practices, and in particular children’s participation in them, is crucial because of this new emphasis on documentation, of the previously mentioned ambiguity within the revised curriculum, and of a discrepancy between Swedish observational/documentational traditions, building on developmental psychology, and the intentions of drawing on Reggio Emilia ideas, prescribed in the new curriculum.
In a pilot study of a teacher and a child documenting in front of the computer I found that although the teacher was concerned about the child’s participation some aspects restricted this ambition, e.g. her notion of what (pedagogical) documentation is, what it should consist of, and how the computer made this participation possible or not. While the teacher and the boy had different views on what to choose, the aim was consensus, therefore it can be seen as a deliberative conversation. The teacher’s assumption that the child’s was mainly interested in seeing himself in the photos, would direct the child’s interest towards himself, and thus towards the governing of himself.
The theoretical perspectives for the study will be the concepts of deliberation, by Englund (2010), and governmentality, by Foucault (1991). Since in this case participation and control is not contingent just upon human practices but also due to device such as digital camera, computer, printer, paper, I will also consider how ”matter matters” drawing on the thoughts of Barad’s (2003) agential realism.
Children's participation, pedagogical documentation, early childhood education, preschool
the 40th Annual Congress of the Nordic Educational Research Association (NFPF/NERA), Copenhagen, Denmark, March 8-10, 2012