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The learning child in a digital world


NB Language spoken is English unless only Dutch-speaking students participate


The course aims at navigating, translating and advancing a new vision for literacy and becoming literate in the digital age. Illuminating great research, we aim at discussing important topics concerning language and literacy: how reading is gradually changing in function and form and how this affects readers; how children’s activities in the ever-evolving realm of digital media are changing and how this may affect children’s language and (emergent) literacy; rethinking learn-to-read in a digital age; how digitization can be used to make books/texts more accessible for young readers but also, the other side of the coin, which new problems with reading might emerge and how to prevent or solve those.
During the course we will highlight important theoretical perspectives like multimedia learning (Richard Mayer), adaptivity built in programs/apps, understanding which features cause multitasking and how this affects learning, electronic tutoring and its effects, and differential susceptibility to qualities of computer programs. As a tour guide we will select key research articles for all topics.

**NB This course is also open for Research Master students as an elective. **

Course objectives

At the end of this course, students will be able to…
1. identify and describe current scientific theories of multimedia and (digital ) technology in relation to learning, reading, and attentional processes (achievement level 1.1).
2. identify and describe evidence-based technology delivered interventions in relation to learning, reading, and attentional processes (achievement level 1.2).
3. translate scientific knowledge and insights of multimedia and (digital) technology to practical issues related to learning, reading, and attentional processes (achievement level 2.3)
4. analyze practical issues of growing up in a technology immersed environment from both a scientific and ethical point of view (achievement level 3.1)
5. analyze and evaluate recent scientific studies critically to establish its practical or theoretical relevance (achievement level 3.4)
6. Report orally and in writing on issues related to technology and child development and learning in an academic context and in other professional contexts (i.e., the school, care-takers) (achievement level 4.1, 4.2).


For the timetable of this course please refer to MyTimetable

Mode of instruction

Studying key research articles/chapters in preparation of meetings during which we interactively discuss the literature. Students give a presentation about the literature. Students translate scientific knowledge into practice by making a knowledge clip aimed at parents and professionals in the field of Education and Child Development.

In all there are seven meetings. Attendance is obligatory for the meetings of this course. Absence must be reported in advance by e-mail to the co-ordinator of the course. To compensate for the missed meeting, the student must hand in a substitute assignment. If more than one meeting is missed, the learning objectives of the course cannot be achieved. This means that the course cannot be successfully completed in the current academic year. The student must take the course again in the following academic year.

Attendance is obligatory.

Research Master students write all exams and reviews in English.

Small changes are possible, see Brightspace!

Assessment method

  1. Presentations (need to be satisfactory)
  2. 6 Written practice reviews (need to be satisfactory)
  3. 1 Written review (individual assignment, will be graded)
  4. Knowledge clip (group assignment, will be graded)

Final grade: 70% graded review + 30% knowledge clip
Both the graded review and the knowledge clip need to be graded with at least a 5.5 to pass the course.
Note. Partial results are only valid in 2023-2024.


  • Registration for this course via My Studymap automatically leads to enrollment into the Brightspace environment of this course.

  • A detailed course description will be uploaded on Brightspace.

  • All course announcements will be placed on Brightspace.

  • Students hand in their reviews and the knowledge clip on Brightspace.

Reading list

  • Alter, A. (2017). Irresistible. The rise of addictive technology and the business of keeping us hooked. Penguin.

  • Guernsey, L.& Levine, M. H. (2015). Tap, click, read. Growing readers in a world of screens. Jossey-Bass.

  • Scientific papers (to be announced, see course description on Brightspace).
    Small changes are possible (also in the reading list), see Brightspace!


Students must register themselves for all course components (lectures, tutorials and practicals) they wish to follow. You can register via My Studymap up to 5 days prior to the start of the course.

It is mandatory for all students to register for each exam and to confirm registration for each exam in My Studymap. This is possible up to and including 10 calendar days prior to the examination. You cannot take an exam without a valid pre-registration and confirmation in My Studymap.

NB If the exam concerns a paper or a practical assignment, you do not need to register in My Studymap.

Carefully read all information about the procedures and deadlines for registering for courses and exams.

Contact information

Coordinator of this course is S. Vogelaar MSc.