Jo Bird

Date of Submission



The aim of this project was to make children's activities on digital devices visible, in order to be understood, which could then assist educators to extend these activities, thus potentially increasing children's learning. The purpose of the study was to explore the children's activities as they used a range of digital technologies. The research was framed by two research questions: a) 'what activities do children engage in around digital devices within an early childhood classroom?' and b) 'how do these activities relate to elements of Vygotsky's theorisation about young children's play?' By examining these questions the study, which will inform early childhood education practices through four implications in learning with and through technologies in early childhood settings. Historically, the research literature in early childhood technologies has focused on educators' use of technological devices with a focus on using desktop computers. Researchers exploring digital technology in early childhood education have called for further investigation into the role digital technology plays in the current context. This includes thinking beyond how educators use technologies in the classroom to the implications for children's play, learning and development; and what this might mean for pedagogy and curriculum. This study used a single site, case study approach where the researcher, who was also the educator, along with the children, documented the use of two iPadsREPLACE1, two digital cameras, a FlipREPLACE1 camera and a computer within the kindergarten classroom. Sociocultural theory framed the research, in particular Vygotsky's views on children's play, learning and development. Both qualitative and quantitative methods were used for analysing the data collected and the results were then discussed in detail.;The study resulted in four main findings which were: 1) digital devices are supportive cultural tools for fostering social interactions; 2) time is needed to explore the technology; 3) digital devices assist leading activity; and 4) children shift from recording artefacts to recording imaginative episodes. These findings formed the basis of four implications for educators which included: 1) educators need to provide children with the time and knowledge to appropriately use ICT and extend their learning; 2) educators need to plan, provide for and encourage social interactions between children using digital technologies; 3) educators need to develop children's skills as mentors for each other in their ICT use; and 4) educators need to consider and provide apps that encourage imaginative play. This investigation identified the necessity for further research around children's need for time to explore digital devices to assist them in moving from explorative to imaginative behaviours


School of Education

Document Type


Access Rights

Open Access


126 pages

Degree Name

Master of Philosophy (MPhil)


Faculty of Education