Mobile technologies, such as the iPad, mark a turning point in leisure activities for children. Their proliferation in the lives of many young children is an emergent theme in educational research yet the impact on ‘play’ is less understood. This paper reports on data collected from three interrelated studies designed to enable us to examine issues of (i) children’s access to these technologies from the perspectives of parents/guardian, (ii) the opportunities for spontaneous play these devices present through their applications targeted for young children, and (iii) the affordances and limitations that emerge from the experiences of children involved in our research. In our paper we share an expanded criteria designed for the analysis and observation of computer play with young children. Our findings, presented in this paper, contributes to the theoretical basis for digital play by researching and applying the theories of play (established in conventional play settings) to children’s use of iPads in their home settings. Our findings, while cannot be generalised, captured some positive experiences showcasing the potential for digitally mediated imaginative play with the iPad for young children. The critical role that parents and care-givers play in framing the activity through time and selected opportunities was emphasized. We provide some examples of the affordances for children and their significant others that emerge from digital play that might be not possible in natural play.
- digital play; tablet technologies
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/irina_verenikina/35/