Technology in outdoor play

Kelly Johnston, Kate Highfield

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    For many children technology is an increasingly common, easily accessible part of their everyday lives (Nikolopoulou and Gialamas, 2015). Children have a dynamic relationship with the various contexts with which they interact, including family, early learning settings and the wider community (DEEWR, 2009; Rogoff, 1990) and as such it stands to reason that technology should be incorporated into early learning settings in a way that mirrors the experiences children have within their family environments, as well as their wider social contexts. This requires a broader conceptualisation of digital technologies and consideration of how these can be used to support authentic play-based learning across contexts. This chapter argues that technology needs to be reconceptualised as a resource to facilitate and support play, and that outdoor play and technology should not be dichotomised. Children, practitioners and parents need to understand the various forms of technology that will continue to feature throughout children’s lives. Similarly, children need to experience nature and engage in exploration and play outdoors. Adopting a broad definition of technology allows us to marry these two fundamental components of contemporary children’s play. Within this chapter technology is defined and conceptualised as: anything that can create, store or process data – this could include digital toys or other devices such as computers or tablets (Palaiologou, 2016); less tangible forms of technology such as the internet (Knight and Hunter, 2013); and imaginary technologies – such as those that appear in dramatic play (Edwards, 2014; Howard et al., 2012)
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationDigital technologies and learning in the early years
    EditorsLorna Arnott
    Place of PublicationLondon
    PublisherSAGE Publications
    Number of pages11
    ISBN (Print)9781412962438, 9781412962421
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


    • technology
    • early years
    • outdoor play


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