MASTERCLASS: Playing and creating in a digital world

09:30 - 12:30

Playing and creating in a digital world

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 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.

9.30-9.45 Coffee and welcome

9.45-10.45 Children’s play, past and present

Gain an insight into:

  • 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.

Professor Elizabeth Wood, School of Education, University of Sheffield

10.45-11.00 Coffee


11.00-11.40 Balham Nursery School: our digital journey

Over the past few years, the team at Balham Nursery School has gradually progressed from children using cameras to filming on iPads and experimenting with apps. Hear how they:

  • were inspired by Reggio Emilia’s creative approach to learning
  • addressed concerns about digital play being a solitary, fixed-outcome activity that blocks children having ‘real’ experiences, and
  • use technology in creative, collaborative and complex ways to support children’s investigations and learning.

Nicola Turner, deputy head, and Eloise Robinson, artist educator, Balham Nursery School, Wandsworth, South London

11.40-12.20 MakEY: Enhancing children’s creativity and digital learning

The MakEY project 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. Gain an insight into:

  • the aims of the project
  • its range of approaches to making and creating
  • the early years ‘makerspaces’ that have been created, and
  • the experiences of children and early years practitioners that have taken part in the project.

Dr Liz Chesworth, lecturer in early childhood education, University of Sheffield

12.20-12.30 Discussion: questions from the floor

Full rate: £150 (+VAT) / early bird rate £125 (+VAT) for bookings made by 7th December

Professor Elizabeth Wood, Professor, School of Education, University of Sheffield

Balham Nursery School team, ,

Dr Liz Chesworth, Lecturer in early childhood education, University of Sheffield