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Introducing Digital Technologies into Play-Based Learning in Early Childhood

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Abstract

Young children are increasingly engaging with digital technologies in their homes and in pre-schools around Australia, however there is a lack of understanding about the type of early years pedagogy needed to support children’s play and learning with digital technologies. This chapter examines research in three preschool settings in which educators introduced digital technologies to their children. In the three case studies, we are reporting on the actions, dispositions and behaviours of the children as captured by the chosen moments informed by our observations (field notes and observational templates) and teachers’ comments (in response to interviews). Our research questioned how robotic devices such as Beebots could support and complement children’s STEM learning. Data were analysed using a deductive thematic approach and an instructional embodiment framework that considered how physical and imaginary embodied cognition were apparent in the children’s interactions and experiences with tangible coding technologies such as Beebots. We found that embodied cognition was embedded in a variety of STEM play situations and was integral to the development of children’s learning. Children’s pretend play aligned with imagined embodiment and was influential in a variety of play situations, enabling digital learning. We found that Beebots did afford embodied learning and the research demonstrates the potential for facilitating imaginative embodiment in the context of play-based learning. Beebots can form part of a rich teaching and learning technologies environment and must be considered as part of the physical makeup of the educational context. Digital technologies in play-based learning should be considered as part of teachers’ planning and designing of the learning environment.

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Fig. 22.1

(adapted from Black et al., 2012)

Fig. 22.2
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Fig. 22.5

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Aranda, G., Campbell, C., Ferguson, J., Speldewinde, C. (2022). Introducing Digital Technologies into Play-Based Learning in Early Childhood. In: Papadakis, S., Kalogiannakis, M. (eds) STEM, Robotics, Mobile Apps in Early Childhood and Primary Education. Lecture Notes in Educational Technology. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-19-0568-1_22

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