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Technology, digital media and popular culture form an important aspect of young children’s life-worlds in contemporary post-industrial societies. A problem for early childhood educators is how to most effectively integrate these aspects of children’s life-worlds into the provision of play-based learning. Traditionally, research has considered barriers to teacher uptake of technologies in the early years, or teacher beliefs and attitudes about using technologies with young children. An alternative perspective focuses on children’s play as the foundation for early childhood curriculum provision and argues that what is needed instead are ‘new’ concepts of play more appropriate for explaining children’s contemporary play experiences in post-industrial societies. This article examines the influence of a new concept of play called ‘web-mapping’ on teachers’ curriculum practices in early childhood education, and finds that, according to Vygotsky’s ideas about explicit and implicit mediation, new concepts of play are likely to provide a fruitful avenue for addressing the ‘problem’ of technology, digital media and popular-culture integration in early childhood education.


Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education

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Journal Article

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