Becoming clowns: How do digital technologies contribute to young children’s play?
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionLafton TL. Becoming clowns: How do digital technologies contribute to young children’s play?. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood. 2019 https://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1463949119864207
Research concerning play and technology is largely aimed at expanding the knowledge of what technological play may be and, to a lesser extent, examines what happens to children's play when it encounters digital tools. To explore some of the complexity in play, this article elaborates on how Latour’s concepts of ‘translation’ and ‘inscription’ can make sense of a narrative from an early childhood setting. The article explores how to challenge ‘taken-forgranted knowledge’ and create different understandings of children’s play in technology-rich environments. Through a flattened ontology, the article considers how humans, non-humans and transcendental ideas relate to one another as equal forces; this allows for an understanding of play as located within and emerging from various networks. The discussion sheds light on how activation of material agents can lead us to look for differences and new spaces regarding play. Play and learning are no longer orchestrated by what is already known; rather, they become co-constructed when both the children and the material world have a say in constructing the ambiguity of play. Lastly, the discussion points to how early years practitioners need tools to challenge their assumptions of what play might become in the digital age.