Playing and creating in a digital world


Find out about the latest thinking on 'converged play', in which children combine digital and traditional materials, in an essential masterclass from leading academics at the Nursery World Show.

For centuries, children have appropriated everyday objects – man-made and natural – to use in their play. Now, in the 21st century, it is increasingly digital technologies that are being added to a child’s cache of resources.

Academics are now turning their attention to the emergence of this ‘converged play’ – in which children combine digital and traditional materials in creative, fluid and flexible ways – and assessing its implications for early years practice and provision.

This masterclass on Saturday 2 February will:

  • revisit our understanding of children’s play, past and present
  • assess early years educators’ responses to children’s digital play, and
  • focus on how to create learning environments that inspire, follow children’s interests and enable children to be creative users, rather than passive consumers, of new technologies.

Professor Elizabeth Wood, School of Education, University of Sheffield, will look at children’s play, past and present, including:

  • the place of play in children’s learning and development
  • what ‘converged play’ looks like
  • how early years educators are responding to this shift in children’s play, and
  • pointers for best practice in supporting children’s play interests in a digital world.

Balham Nursery School will explain its digital journey, gradually progressing from children using cameras to filming on iPads and experimenting with apps.

Dr Liz Chesworth, lecturer in early childhood education, University of Sheffield, will talk about the MakEY project, which is exploring new pedagogies and learning environments that will inspire children’s creativity and advance their digital learning, while remaining true to the child-led principles of early years practice.

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