Institute for Learning Sciences & Teacher Education

Digital technologies and consumer culture in early childhood education: what do teachers need to know?


The aim of this project was to determine the knowledge needs of teachers about young children’s contemporary play experiences and the early childhood curriculum. The study used cultural historical activity theory as its conceptual framework, and a four stage design. Multiple research methods (including videotapes of children participating in three play activities; audio-recorded semi-structured interviews and notes from teachers after reviewing the footage and a data analysis workshop) were used to
a) identify a typology that provides examples of what teachers recognise as play along a continuum of digital to non-digital activity;
b) describe and theorise how teachers connect the digital and non-digital activities they recognise as play to the early childhood curriculum; and

c) build a set of focal claims that identify and define the knowledge needs of teachers as a consequence of the connections they recognise between digital and non-digital play and the early childhood curriculum.


  • 2012-2013

Research Investigators

  • Dr Scott Lee


  • Edwards, S., Nuttall, J., Lee, S., Wood, L., Mantilla, A., & Grieshaber, S. (2015). Digital play: What do teachers see? In S. Bulfin., N. Johnson & C. Bigum (Eds.), Critical perspectives on education and technology, (pp. 69-84).  New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Nuttall, J., Edwards, S., Lee, S., Mantilla, A., & Wood, E. (2013). Kindergarten teachers’ interpretations of young children’s play in digital-consumerist contexts. Journal of Cultural-Historical Psychology, 2013(2), 54-62.