Young children in digital society: building an Online Tool for service provision

Young children are growing up in a digital society. Children experience digital society according to their socio-economic situations, cultural experiences, geographic location, and gender identity. Within these experiences, central aspects of young children’s lives require consideration to ensure technologies are used ‘with, by and for’ young children in their best interests. The Early Childhood Australia Statement on Young Children and Digital Technologies captures these considerations by paying attention to four main aspects of technology use in the early years, including Relationships, Health and Wellbeing, Citizenship, and Play and Pedagogy. This workshop is based on an Australian Research Council Linkage Project developing practice advice provided by the ECA Statement on Young Children and Digital Technologies into a series of digitally networked content for use by the Industry Partners. Industry Partners include, the Alannah and Madeline Foundation, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Australian Federal Police, Early Childhood Australia, Raising Children Network and eSafety Commissioner. Participant Organisations include, We Belong Family Day Care, C&K QLD, Lady Gowrie Tasmania and Playgroup Western Australia.This project uses Participatory Design with children, families and educators as an overarching methodology integrating four Investigations, each representing an area in the ECA Statement on Young Children and Digital Technologies (Relationships, Health and Wellbeing, Citizenship, Play and Pedagogy). Each Investigation has its own research question and method (e.g. ethnography, longitudinal, quasi-experimental or case-study). The Industry Partners work across one or more Investigations, collaborating with researchers on the design and implementation of workshops with participants and trialling digital practices with children, families, and educators in-situ. At two points in the overall project, participants, Industry Partners, and researchers meet to share the trial digital practices, with the aim of establishing how and where practices are enacted and shared by children, families, and educators across all four Investigations. This aim reflects the view in practice theory that practices shape society, alongside the critical constructivist understanding of technologies in which valued digital practices are defined as those which people share amongst each other. This workshop will provide an overview of the main project, including the conceptual framework and Participatory Design (15 minutes). Each Investigation will then be presented, with researchers detailing their collaborations with the Industry Partners in co-creating practices with participants (15 minutes each). Sample data will then be shared, with Workshop participants invited to discuss the analytical path of data conversion to digital content with the presenting researchers and Industry Partners (15 minutes).