Digital Child Webinar: The role and use of digital technologies with, for and by children
Hello and welcome to our children's week webinar the role and use of digital technologies with for and by children my name's Lisa Kervin and I'm research director at Early Start at the University of Wollongong and also a chief investigator for the Australian Center of Excellence for the digital child. I'd like to begin by acknowledging that wherever we are in Australia we're meeting on Aboriginal country today I'm an early start at the University of Wollongong on Dharawal country and this country stretches from Southern Sydney in our North to Nowra in the south we have our beautiful escarpment in the west and our ocean in the east and I recognise the connection to the land and Waters and thank Aboriginal people for protecting the coastline and its ecosystems here at UOW we are physically based at the bottom of Mount Keira, an area that has always been a great place of knowledge and learning. I pay my respects to Elders past present and emerging and extend that respect to all Aboriginal people. A few notes before we begin the session we do ask that you keep your microphone muted if you'd like to ask a question please use the QA function and we'll be monitoring that throughout the session today and just a reminder that this session has been recorded and we'll be sharing those recordings through various channels at the end of the presentation. So this week
we acknowledge and celebrate children's week a national celebration that recognizes the talents the skills the achievements and the rights of children and the purpose of our session today is to consider the role of the digital in children's lives we're going to take a look at the responsibilities of digital producers as well as the children themselves and their adults in creating and consuming digital experiences to support and enhance child development and to do this we've put together quite an impressive panel let me introduce them to you we're going to first hear from Professor Susan Edwards Susan is director of The Early Childhood Futures research program at the institute for learning sciences and teacher education at ACU Australian Catholic University she's an expert in digital play and cyber safety in the early years and she was a leader in early childhood Australia's statement on young children in digital Technologies Susan is also an investigator in the center of excellence for the digital child we also have Aunt Frank who has extensive experience in working with some of the biggest technology companies he is passionate about cutting-edge Technologies and how they can be used for good bringing technology and people together in powerful ways and his program lead at in digital Australia's first indigenous edutech company specializing in technology development and digital skills training in augmented and mixed realities artificial intelligence machine learning internet of things and geospatial Technologies we also have Laura Stone whose Early Childhood the early childhood education producer at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation our ABC where she leads ABC Kids Early Education creating opportunities for children and Educators through media and digital resources also from ABC Linda Harrison who's an early education consultant for the ABC and Linda develops play-based teaching resources that build upon ABC Kids acknowledging the vital role quality digital content and Technology play in responsive Early Education what a team together and from the different perspectives that we have on the screen today our panel are going to help us work through the role of the digital in the lives of Australian children the responsibilities for producers for children and their adults and some meaningful Pathways for use of digital Technologies so without any further ado I'm going to pass over to to Susan who's going to start our conversations. Thank you Lisa for the very warm welcome I'm in Naarm, Melbourne on the lands of the Wurundjeri people. I pay my respect to leaders past present and future so we'll kick off straight away role in use of digital Technologies with for and by children as part of the really lovely briefing that Lisa provided for this event one of the opening ideas was to think about where our young children in the digital um and recently I've come across two sort of pieces of information that make me really think and understand the extent to which we are literally living with the digital one is the notion of internet cables which are the cables that run um under the sea and connect um us to the internet around the world and you can see the map of where those cables are at the top so that's the most recent among most recent 2022 Maps uh and the other is the notion of um internet satellites um and you can see this image of um satellite they're not all internet satellites some of it's also space junk that literally um circles circles that that we live in so um thinking of young children in the digital it's not just the artifact it's not just the notion that maybe this particular child at this moment in time is using this iPad or this phone or um you know this particular piece of augmented reality it's actually there's actually a physical infrastructure that enables the digital and we live with that physical infrastructure the manifestation of that physical infrastructure I'm trying to make sure I've marked my time as well because I don't want to go into other people's time so the physical manifestation um of that architecture for very young children is is part of now how they live their lives so many many um children not all children because not everyone has equal access to Technologies or the internet but they may experience um using paywave to pay for things voice activation in their homes access to digital content video conferencing if they attend Early Learning Services they're likely to have observations taken of them on documenting digital documentation they'll use Technologies to communicate with others have internet connected toys you know likely could have had some aspect of their life whether it was before they were even born by their ultrasound images or their first tooth or something um proudly shared on social media by families so that infrastructure that's in our oceans and around our planet manifest then in the affordances for digital Technologies in which we live through and with and very young children included and so early childhood Australia um is one of the peak bodies representing uh families Educators children and families in Australia and several years ago now they recognized um that young children are living and growing up in this very sort of digitally mediated world and so um they decided to work on the statement on young children digital Technologies. um so that there was guidance for people in the sector on the role in optimal use of digital Technologies with by and for young children particularly in Early Education and Care settings they're what we found with this statement is that it's had a lot of utility outside of Early Education and Care settings and being picked up by quite a number of organizations nationally and to inform their own work with young children and digital Technologies so this was a um quite a substantial piece of work there was a national Advisory Group a lot of representation great deal of consultation with the sector um discussion paper was released with feedback a systematic review of the literature was conducted um and the draft statement on itself was circulated and also underwent International blind peer review so very very rigorous process to get it to the point where it was published and launched so the statement itself then um considers that there are sort of four main aspects um of children's lives in which we can think about um using Technologies with one four children and it looks at our relationships um and the way that technology is media and enable um relationships Children's Health and well-being so it considers things like physical activity Foster Vision Social and emotion emotional aspects of children's learning and sleep citizenship which looks at Children's aspects of children's Online safety digital rights Etc applying pedagogy which looks at the ways in which Technologies um can be integrated into the provision that Educators have for children's learning so if you haven't had a look at that statement it's worth having a look and if you don't want to go through the whole statement it's fairly accessible there's a summarized version as well so I was invited to speak particularly today on the citizenship aspect of this statement Technologies with by and for children so in the ECA statement the citizenship section considers children's rights to access digital Technologies and internet. Our children's privacy with digital Technologies safety and their Online safety education so you can see they're sort of a summary of what that citizenship section canvases in recent years a lot of work's been happening nationally and internationally in the space of I'm just moving the faces over in the space of Online safety children's rights um and privacy so um there is the work of the United Nations under arts and children they've just released the new general comments on children's rights in the digital environment and one of these um very primary rights is that children have the right to access the internet and the right to access digital Technologies because um that statement recognizes that access to the internet is so integral to the capacity to be a full um an active citizen in 21st century life uh in um the UK the children's code's just been released um there's the copper in America which is children's online privacy protection rule this is the role and Ant might know a lot more about this I'm given his experience in a lot of um large organizations that nominally set the role the age is 13 um for signing up to social media the father Arts Foundation um also from the UK California's recently um just passed a you act um for um putting some management restriction around um the management of children's data um there's the general data protection rule in Europe and that also has what's called the right to be forgotten and in Australia there's a movement towards developing a new industry code um around um what types of material can be published online and what responsibilities organizations have um in in light of um looking at that material so what I wanted to now spend a little bit of time um talking about is some work that I was already doing on Cyber safety or online education particularly for children age birth to five and the work had started before the pandemic but it came particularly acute and necessary during the pandemic when suddenly everyone was at home including our little people and they were spending a lot of time on the internet rather with or without our supervision so this work , this work was sort of several years in the making um and it sort of started with a little curiosity I had which was what did four-year-olds think the internet was um so I started wondering about this around about um in about 2012 2013 I was like oh sounds like these little people are more and more access and internet using the internet um hearing the word internet or online or you know all this terminology in their lives and I sort of wondered what what might they think the internet is and so I had a lot to say what had been done on that really nothing had been done um nationally or internationally just to find out you know what the four-year-olds think uh the internet is and this seemed to me a bit of a gap because if we didn't know what children of this age thought the internet was um how would we ensure that we're offering them learning experiences that would help keep us safe online right because our messaging is oh don't talk to someone you don't know online or don't click on a pop-up because you might download a virus or all of these sorts of things so giving them all this messaging but we don't know what concept about the internet's um sitting underneath the messaging so like when we tell children to look both ways before they cross the road we make sure they understand what a road is and the fact that a car could come like there's a rationale underneath the advice we give them the same when we teach them to apply sunscreen and be Sunsmart we teach them about the effects of the sun on their skin before we teach them the messaging and it seemed to me like there was a rush of research that was or efforts to suddenly give from all these messages about being safe online but we didn't necessarily know how to marry that out with what their conceptual understanding of the internet was, so then in this um paper um what I set out to explore was then what are sort of the broad issues around um the internet and how we approach um young children's understandings of the internet um and issues that self-associated with this age group uh accessing the internet so um there's a chap called Feinberg whose work I've read quite carefully you follow quite carefully um and he talks about the fact that there's not one internet like because we sort of talk about the internet like it's a one thing like I'm going on the Internet or do you use the internet and he says the internet's actually not one thing um and there's ways that we can think about the internet so there's sort of like um I think Ant might do this better than I can um but there's a technical dimension to the internet which is all the actual infrastructure that makes it possible the networking the cables the satellites um is the device you're using all the things the technical things that men can connect, then there's the social side of the internet where people do things using that technical infrastructure and Feinberg says that on the internet there's sort of two broad ways that we engage socially with the internet and one is what he calls the community model um which is where we use the internet to connect with other people who are like us to share ideas and information hook up with our friends and family um maybe colleagues um and the idea that you know we use the internet to have these sort of social connections and in the other dimension of the internet he talks about is what's called the consumption side of the internet and this is where the internet is used by people literally to make money to sell goods and services and that we go there to consume whatever it is you might buy on the internet or however your data is used on the internet to push ads or to sell you things so I know that um that all the infant the data that that's held about me um seems to know that I would really like comfortable shoes because for summer I keep getting uh ads for very comfortable middle aged looking um sandals and not high heel ones or anything like that um and so that's sort of that consumption aspect of the internet um and so what Feinberg invites us to think is that when we go on internet sometimes we're experiencing it as a community thing and sometimes as a consumption thing that that can be quite fluent so at any one moment of time you might go there for Community but actually experience consumption and vice versa and so that this is a very fluid thing so you can see there's a dotted line there so who invites us to think then that the internet's not a single thing it's not just one thing it's actually a I guess a space as well as a network where all these things are happening uh and these ideas if you've just come out of a theory that he calls critical constructivism so what I tried to work out then was okay if we haven't got one internet and the internet is sort of more than one thing how then can we think about the internet at all and then um as I was doing my reading and my thinking I came across a whole field of research that's called internet studies so they're actually people um whose job it is to literally who study and research the internet um and normally um people who are involved in Internet studies come from areas like social psychology engineering information sciences computing studies cultural studies etc etc and I thought well why not early childhood education as well it's a sort of popped the fact that maybe early childhood education has actually got something to offer the field of Internet studies as well so internet studies um because they most people in Internet studies accept the remit that there's not a singular internet and so because they accept it's not a singular thing in Internet studies the idea is that you can think about and research and study and act in practice as well um with and about the internet by thinking about technologies um the technologies that are used and how they use the context, context in which um internet is enacted and experienced and also policy so in this paper I think I'm doing alright for time I've got just a few more minutes I'm nearly there um in this paper I unpacked you know sort of what policy would look like um in terms of the internet for young children and you know came up with a series of possible research agenda questions that could be interested to advance um what our understandings of the internet mean in early childhood Education and Care so you know what are the disciplines that we're drawing upon at the moment uh to inform legislation regulations and recommendations practices and regarding internet usage in the best interest of young children their families and Educators and in those sort of policies are we seeing any evidence or presence of expertise in early childhood education or a mostly sort of getting legit sleep expert expertise or more sort of technological expertise um Can cyber safety education be represented in curriculum Frameworks um what's the likely downward impact on legislative cyber safety requirements for young children nationally and internationally on the provision of cyber safety education for young children um some thoughts around you know what would it mean to look at technologies um is end user safety of Art and privacy data embedded in the actual design of the technologies that are used um with one four young children I'm interested to hear what ads and come to here to end with his expertise in things like augmented reality and um other such devices on this notion of the fact that there's actually the internet has quite an adult-centric history so the internet was never designed in the first place um for people who are only like 36 months old because that's how I want a three-year-old is the internet was actually designed for adults um so in its historical design it was designed for adults but at the period of time where it's at now you've got people who are like 24 36 months old actually interacting with it so what does that adult-centric history of the internet mean um for the way that we're designing our conventions and protocols around the internet um similar sort of thing there and then the one I wanted to spend a little bit of time on quite quickly now so don't take up many more time is the notion of context the question that I'm really interested in specifically and that we've been spending a lot of time in my research group looking at um and also in a current project we're running which Laura's involved with us on is what are the social and Technical concepts of the internet um that young children and their adults hold so basically that that little question that I started with um so many years ago what what a four-year-olds think the internet is and does our understanding of the internet um support their Online safety so this is from a study that we did when we first started thinking about this question and we developed a child-centered interview to ask the children about the internet um most of them were not able to describe the internet if we we gave them a little scenario and say no you know if you're playing a game and we show them a picture of a game they would be familiar with and someone popped up in the chat and said would you tell me your name um most of them said they would because we teach children for age group to answer an adult when they say what's your name so they're very nicely giving their name um if that person said where do you live they would say they would tell it not only would they tell it most of them rattle off their full address house number Street the full kit and caboodle very happy to tell someone how old they are um couldn't describe a pop-up but they would pop up when they saw it and when they we show them different pop-ups they might they say that we'll click on them um because usually pop-ups will highlight the play button so that because they're used to her in if you think about digital literacies and we'll respond to the highlighted domain and so they'll just click on the play button or they'll say if I click on it it goes away and I can keep playing the game behind it um before you know it they've um downloaded a virus or they're about they’ve just spent 50 bucks on an in-app purchase um so this is work that Laura will be quite familiar with that we've been doing in our project and we've been deliberately trying to um work with children to build their understandings of the internet so this is um an internet wall here the children have been growing selfies of themselves and these are all one little pieces of velcro and they've also got um well-known emoticons here I know you can't quite see it but up here on the wall there's also a fine and it's connected with string to another phone and they send each other their selfies or emoticons and messages and it's a got a piece of string connecting and the Educators have conversations with the children about who you're speaking to who's on the other end of his stream uh this is a little pop-up activity so on this is on a little paddle pot stick and there's a piece of paper and it's got a picture of a pop-up and the teacher explains to the children that during the week she's going to come wherever they're playing if they're in a block corner or the sand pit or the home Corner she's going to come with a pop-up and interrupt their play and when she does that they have to you know work out what they're going to do to make her and her pop-up go away and they've talked about how you've got to press a little cross and so she won't go away and leave them in that plane until they've pressed the crops so if they press the cross she off she goes until she might pop up again later on at lunch time they don't know when she's going to pop up and you can see they're quite intent been doing lots of collaborations with ABC as well and a very beautiful piece of work on play school all around Online safety that we're very proud of we're excited to have um a big piece of work with the office of e-safety.
Online safety for under fives a lot of resources there a book called social Glide and rule number five there's a really nice collaborative piece with the AFP and the Alanah Madeleine Foundation um who are playing it's safe we've just got some excellent resources and ideas for educators to embed children's understandings of Technologies in the internet and they've recently just finished a piece with um the Australian federal police called Jack changes the game which very gently and carefully um touches on online grooming um and cyber safely so that's the end I hope I was within my 20 minutes things I tried and I'll pass over to Ant Warami, g'day hello my name's Ant Frank and I am coming to you from a little place in Sydney known as Guringai country uh the northern suburbs of Sydney one of the Dharug speaking nations of the broader Sydney Basin as one of the pain in my respects also to Elders vice president emerging and recognize their continuing connection to culture land and the sacred waterways I'm in a place also known as Hornsby Heights where I spent the better part of with this broader area as a child as well um and I found my way back here with two beautiful children um and when they were born I uh I recognized the need to move into a career in the digital space prior to that there was there was no interest whatsoever I think the internet came into the household for the most part when I was a teenager already had a uh a pretty deep passion for music and um and my drum kit much to the dismay of members of the community in the street but understanding that I lack the literacy when my kids were born um to be able to help guide them through what was coming was the main motivator for me to change careers so uh now I have a 13 and a 17 year old a 13 year old daughter and a 17 year old son so we've navigated a lot of a tricky uh landscape already and um with friends in the street that have got very young children it's an ongoing discussion that we have and to understand what digital looks like to children today I was reminded as a young child myself um and it's an analogy that I clumsily pull out of my bag from now and from time to time around when the microwave oven um was introduced to our household probably dating myself but I was pretty young at the time and uh it was it was actually quite a mind-blowing experience and go with me on this um I had toast for breakfast every morning a toaster was in the household before I could walk and I took that for granted when the microwave came into the house we were mind-blown about this new technology and what it could do and couldn't really understand how and why but as a young probably seven eight year old maybe definitely less than 10 years old it looked like a great toy to blow up eggs for the most part but understanding that that parallel to technology today is something that helps me understand what is the toaster for my children and what is the microwave oven um for my kids who you know when the iPad for example and touch screen technology um became commonplace um that was pretty groundbreaking stuff for the most part for the adult community whereas my children being born um in you know 2005-2009 so touch screen technology I think smartphones for the most part was around 2008ish um give or take a year or two so when they were old enough to start engaging with interaction outside of the household anyway touch screen tech was commonplace they saw their parents with with iPhones smartphones iPads and whatnot um and so what is that microwave oven gonna be for them was it you know virtual reality headsets mixed reality headsets uh quite possibly or is it not even close is the is the thing that's going to really blow their minds as they grow up into adulthood something that we haven't seen yet because there's a whole lot of stuff including careers at the moment I think from 2015 about 30% of jobs that are here now didn't exist that's a pretty short period of time by and large when you consider what kind of world where we're developing and growing um for and with our children um what we do with indigital is create a set of foundational skills that don't only make attempts to closing the digital divide between indigenous and non-indigenous kids but giving all kids in a classroom much needed relevant and locally accurate cultural education around indigenous history As told by the elders in partnership with the Elders of that particular community and that forms the foundation of the digital skills training that we then Embark upon so how can the children then get an understanding on what kind of technology is available today um by 3D animation uh playing in in Minecraft uh learning some fundamentals on python coding so they can start to unpack what else is possible in this space it's not by any means very complex we might we like to keep it very simple and and generate some more positive uh wins for children to encourage them to engage in this kind of technology but what it's doing moreover is unlocking potential that some children never realized they had be they indigenous or non-indigenous recognizing that there is a pathway a meaningful pathway into the digital economy especially for kids in remote and regional areas of Australia that don't have um say the sort of technological accessibility that we might take for granted in in you know Metro cities. I would love to do a bit of a well I could explain with more detail what we do as indigital but I would much rather let our founder and CEO and marketing team do that this is a five minute video if you don't mind I might just uh press play on so we can uh get it here from the horses now so to speak [Music] Country. It holds our story our language our law. It connects us to our ancestors each other. Encoded across our sea Sky River and desert country is 80 000 years of knowledge and story.
Walk with us, as we step towards a future where First Nations peoples are world leaders in embedding our knowledge in the creation of future technologies. Let us share what we see. Aboriginal teachers of culture have the most important job in the world because what we don't teach now gets lost. Our country is horrible and losing our story I guess has been one of the worst the things that could have happened to us and the opportunities tell our stories is paramount I believe. My main thoughts and wants were to get language out there but to share in this way yeah I didn't think it was possible. Indigital is Australia's first edutech company focusing on developing digital skills for indigenous and non-indigenous Australians through a cultural lens and we specifically focus on augmented and mixed reality Technologies. Led by our elders we share cultural knowledge
through a digital lens and teach digital skills through a cultural lens [Music] inspiring our elders young people and their Educators to reach beyond what they think is possible for themselves. Right now over 400 million indigenous peoples across the world are excluded from digital futures. We are working to change this we're going into an uncertain future where we don't know the skills that will be needed for these kids I think following the kids interests is going to help us prepare them for the world of tomorrow. The Indigital schools program is an eight-step program where we teach teachers how to teach indigenous digital skills as well as working in 3D modelling and animation and working in Minecraft education Edition with indigenous coding and doing some storytelling as well and we bring this together in an augmented reality experience that students can share at home.
These kids are being exposed to a different type of learning and different type of Storytelling or modes of Storytelling that fire exceed anything that I've ever known myself. So I guess it's a blending of new culture with with the old culture and finding that balance you just have to say right we're going to do some coding and it's just like a stampede you know towards their devices I mean who doesn't love that looking at the augmented reality and the Perpetual reality and the mixed reality and just watching the kids kind of you can see some Jaws just like dropping and just like some a lot of laughter and a lot of excitement from the kids really important giving those kids that experience, making sure that they are prepared for whatever world tomorrow they're going to be living in whatever technology they're going to need. It's quite important to know our past and what happened it's a very good way to learn I think and it's a fun way to learn too. With such a wealth
of cultural knowledge really the next round of digital entrance from an in indigenous perspective again I'd like to think that the potential is limitless as well. I've just reached into yesterday I've just pulled a story to today I've now told you that story and now there's a responsibility for each and every one of you to take that story in tomorrow. All those kind of curriculum priorities like communication and teamwork Intercultural understanding I mean you're just kind of going wow you know how else will I be doing this with the same level of engagement so I mean it's really just about every level it's been successful now I'm realizing more than ever that it really is the kids they've learned there is another culture that has a way of telling stories that has the same message as they probably get from home and that's the way forward I think this is the way we try to change it as a planet to be a better place.
So yeah something that actually I think Susan also mentioned a little earlier and it sort of comes out of what Uncle Don is talking about there and uh and uh Rory I think from Bruni Island down in Tassie is their level of engagement with this kind of tech that kids have and that I firmly believe this can be a double-edged sword so the balance that we need to strike I think is of key importance between real world interactions and the virtual however um back into the uh the future Focus focused Tech that that we spend every day in um we've always been focused at next-gen technologies and to unpack that potential with elders and young people alike so they can see what is actually here already uh and you know maybe that's a toaster for some and maybe it's a microwave oven in my experience uh but who knows um what kind of imagination that Sparks in in young children when they wear one for the first time or with Elders because our program very much starts in that space um and as you heard our founder Michaela Jade mentioned um we're a First Nations founded and led business uh and 70% of the team are indigenous 70% are female and we like to ensure that the uh the world that we're building or playing a role in building in this digital world is more inclusive than the than the first iteration of the internet um and I think when the internet was first being ideated and came to the four you know a few decades ago there was a very exclusive group of people that were involved in its development and I think we have recognized that and are making some really solid inroads to ensuring that that it is a lot more inclusive for all uh although it is a journey and you know there's still quite a way to travel um but to ensure that this program for example um sets a uh I guess a baseline of understanding when it comes to what kind of a world do we live in or do we want to live in because when we're talking to Children about what is the digital what does digital mean to them if they can't articulate it or explain it necessarily they absolutely do live in it and they experience it and probably more instinctively respond and interact with it than you know their parents and grandparents could and would of so to inspire these foundational digital skills at least opens up a dialogue and I mean look for some children in the program where we deliver around the country some children never realized that they had engineering in their brain to coin a phrase from one of the children up in uh in Arnhem Land a couple of years ago so not only is it setting some foundational skills in in frontier technologies but they're some of them are realizing that there are there are career Pathways and and potential within themselves that they didn't know they had in the past so that's a is a couple of beautiful aspects to how we engage with children and the digital space um the most important thing is that the conversations that we're having um are to impact children uh and we do that through conversations with Elders we do that through um the digital skills training that we provide to Educators but our North Star is always how do we empower children and how do we ensure that the next generation of the internet um some referring to the spatial web or more popularly being sort of coined a phrase at the metaverse whatever the web 3.0 technology is the next generation of this interconnected uh Digital World in which we live and we'll live how does that um how does that present for children and is it going to be a a safe space for not just for children but obviously very very importantly for children but the um the approach we take is making sure that it's a safe space for all and I think it's fair to say that there are a lot of marginalized groups that weren't involved in the development of of current day technologies and we'd like to make sure that we can move the needle to uh like I said a much more inclusive uh approach with that. I won't go into this slide it's a whole lot of detail but very much intentionally to keep it short and high level our program starts where we discuss cultural protocols with the traditional custodians of the country on which the school is built so that they can understand that we are coming from a from the right place when it comes to respecting their intellectual property, the indigenous cultural intellectual property in particular um so the technology showcases that we put the elders through very much helps them understand what kind of a world their story is going to live in that then enables them to um I guess decide on the appropriate story for sharing. We then also have the same sort of indigenous cultural intellectual property or isip conversations with the students and you heard um Dylan from Bundaberg County State School in that video talk to the children in process saying I've pulled this story from the past and you know brought it into the present now it's your responsibility to take it into the future that kind of conversation is underpinned by by ISIP so they're understanding what responsibility do we have as indigenous kids and as non-indigenous peoples with regard to um sharing that and also hearing these kinds of stories this creates a much broader and more inclusive environment and hopefully uh obviously a much more broader a much broader inclusive world not just a digital one. The upskilling of of indigenous Elders in this space seems to be a really um happy by product if I'm honest where Elders are starting to put on these sorts of headsets as well and recognize that now they have a skill set that they didn't realize could be monetised so we're also empowering and enabling a lot of a lot of remote and regional indigenous communities to uh to monetize their cultural IP and be able to do it on Country which is a very significant requirement for indigenous peoples to be able to stay on country which now that the technology that we get to see and says to an extent take advantage of is becoming um much more realized.
These are some of the outcomes that we've had over the last few years since we launched we were able to launch this startup during a pandemic working remotely so our um appreciation for this kind of technology and what it can do for all is front and center with our day-to-day um we've engaged with about seven First Nations communities who have recognized as with the children in the classes that we have had them deliver the program to um the development of really core principles like empathy and understanding uh being able to break down biases and recognize unconscious bias within oneself, problem solving techniques teamwork and collaboration from a really young age not to mention analytical abilities and recognizing the importance of as I touched on creating a safe space for all which I think we can agree is pretty key. The challenge that we have uh you know a lot of the Educators in fact nearly 70% of educators are over 40 so like myself didn't necessarily have this kind of technology in their hand and see it as I did a toaster when they were growing up so hence the uh the approach to deliver this kind of training to the Educators to ensure that not only Educators but and I don't say teachers intentionally recognizing that educators are teachers, they are Elders parents um you know more senior members of the community I guess um so it's more of a catch-all phrase but the um the ability to upskill all Educators in these kinds of skills because of the engagement that we have with children to create a much a much richer environment and a much more inclusive um next generation of the internet um we'll leave it at that um I've gone to time just slightly over apologies so um I will now hand over to Laura. Thank you Ant, what a great program so impressive and inspiring thank you and thanks Susie as well that really did help to ground this webinar session in such a such a clear place around the Early Education links there um I am on beautiful Whadjak Noongar country over in Perth and I'd also like to pay my respects to traditional custodians of the lands waterways and skies across our beautiful country and pay respect to Elders past present and emerging. Thank you Lisa for inviting us to be a part of this important discussion on digital technologies and in our case Linda and I um looking at media in the early years too and thank you to everyone for tuning in this children's week and for people engaging afterwards. ABC Kids Early Education is an integrated part of the ABC Children's Department and as you would know the ABC is the leading TV broadcaster for children's content in Australia delivering trusted entertaining and educational media for our younger citizens now as part of our remit ABC Kids Early Education develops teaching resources emerging from our video and audio content and these are designed with a range of inputs from Early Learning subject matter Specialists to help both Educators and families support young Children's Discovery and learning um for context there's also ABC education which is a long-running subsection of the corporation and they provide curriculum aligned resources for primary and high school settings um so all of us tuning in um no doubt recognize that children are born into a rapidly evolving digital world and there's no denying that technology is a part of Australian children's lives and identities as learners however I think we'd all agree that there's limited value in watching or listening to media in early learning programs no matter how great the quality is as stand-alone events in the day. It's the engagement around that piece of content that's really key when we're thinking about children's learning and engagement and this really requires Early Childhood Educators to engage in critical reflection to ensure that media engagement through digital tech supports intentional teaching and becomes intertwined with play-based learning. Now content makers I've got an early childhood
teaching background as well Educators researchers such as Susie we're working with Susie and a lot of other great colleagues in the space and also parents should carefully consider young children's digital rights and I think we can all work together to set the bar really high around children's expectations of quality media and digital tech based experiences right from the start so our team considers oh we can move along to the next one thanks Lynn. Our team considers research about children's digital diets and the impact of technology on early development quite closely and there's a balance that we have to get right so Ant spoke about balance we certainly are constantly balancing things up at ABC Kids as well so we need to provide entertaining often silly imaginative, challenging content that families and children will really want to watch while being sure to reflect the diversity of Australian society and explore Concepts that are important to Children's early development and learning. We know that TV plays a huge role in shaping attitudes and ideas about the world and our place within it um and that's certainly a responsibility that guides our work at ABC Children's every day. So there's the big wild west of video streaming platforms to contend with that's for sure um so we need to certainly keep our compass set right around modelling that positive social emotional behaviours steering clear of things like the risky and imitable behaviour, acts of aggression or sexist attitudes just to name a few of those sorts of things, to help with this we have a bunch of wonderful leaders um and Innovative storytellers working with us and we also have the unwavering support and rigor of ABC editorial guidelines. So certainly ABC Kids is a truster is a trusted provider of appropriate and safe online content for young children and we hope to keep evolving in that space so one of our regular Partners which Susie mentioned is the office of e-safety and they provide advice on choosing good online content with useful tips for assessing what's appropriate and beneficial for young children so one of the resources up on the screen there is the family tech agreement that used images throughout the episode that Susie flagged before Kaya's excellent e-birthday it's a great resource to check out if you haven't seen it already fortunately that came out right at the beginning of COVID times we didn't plan it that way but oh my goodness that was actually incredible timing because as Ants said and her Susie as reflected as well that really saw I guess quite a different um different uses around technology than we've ever seen before because of the fact that we were doing the online learning looking for more ways to occupy time at home and the internet suddenly became even more important in the lives of young children and families so that um that information all of the resources connected are it's available ongoing which is great so oh yes and I was also just going to say e-safety stays as a partner with the ABC across our early childhood content and also um you're probably aware of our ABCme platform which provides content for children who are over eight years old up until the teenage years so there's certainly increasing recognition of the opportunity that quality media presents when planning and implementing learning experiences in Early Education and Care contexts now this includes increasing awareness of digital play and all that involves and Susie has touched on a lot of those things in her presentation. At ABC Kids Early Education we certainly advocate
for Meaningful Pathways um into digital content used by children and one effective as and as used as one effective tool in their play in early learning um so digital resources can be used alongside other more traditional non-digital forms of play like pretend play or construction for example um and as children live in a connected Society play as it does for all areas of development um fulfills that important role in helping them develop essential digital literacy skills and understandings and if we consider digital multimedia ABC Kids also provides web games and apps and these ones like you see on the screen placeable art maker um and this one here from Sesame Street, they link in a variety of ways to Children's Early Learning if we think of multimodal resources they integrate images written words and or sounds and some are also interactive. We haven't gone into augmented reality yet and but maybe that's something that we can follow up and continue evolving that was so fascinating to hear about how in digital is doing that um so we've also got um in so there's an element of interactivity responding to touch and voice and typing and other inputs now these sorts of resources we know can Enigma children's Natural Curiosity encourage them to engage in problem solving building language skills and early maths understandings while enhancing digital and multimodal literacy so this is nothing new for us but as I said we're always looking for ways to evolve Playschool art maker is now over a decade old which is incredible but it's still one of those resources because it was informed by early childhood research Professor um or Dr Kate Highfield I I should say worked as an early childhood advisor on the development of that particular app with ABC education at the time. So by using apps like art maker children can become digital content makers in their own right it has open-ended potential and it's informed by those Early Childhood researchers and early childhood practice. So what do we consider when producing children's media and digital resources at the ABC so we've got our award-winning program such as play school and of course Bluey they're very much inspired by children's play. I'll just focus on play
school for this um particular point that we'll make. Early Childhood advisors contribute to development of play school at all stages to ensure that the program is founded on contemporary Early Childhood pedagogy and early years curriculum now as you would know I'm sure if you've watched a few episodes of play school over the years it's always look to create strong relationships between children and presenters through the screen. Children are invited to respond and play along as the show is playing the presenters use open-ended questions they think about pacing they incorporate singing storytelling movement and humour encouraging that active engagement while watching and giving those ideas for follow-up afterwards and we have our new strands of play school that focus more deeply I suppose on priorities in early learning such as science time we're thinking about stem, language and literacy through Play School Story Time um the wonderful Eddie Woo there presenting as a guest on play school's marvellous maths and yarning and dreaming focusing on embedding indigenous perspectives in early learning programs Now these new strands of play schools certainly are ideal co-viewing opportunities for children and for the adults in their lives as well and that's something that we're really thoughtful about when we're planning um planning the content and then thinking of ways that we can turn listening and viewing and I say listening because we've also got our wonderful ABC kids listen audio platform we're thinking of how we can then turn those experiences into playfully doing the children. I'm going to the next one so when we consider meaningful pathways into digital content use it's really important for Early Childhood Educators to acknowledge that pop culture plays a really big part in the lives of children and consider the value it has when using programs like Bluey for example to extend children's interests so if we think about this incredible Bluey phenomenon um we that might be a way to help early childhood Educators um explore a range of ideas that are universally interesting and relevant to preschool-aged children and their families while also connecting to Parenting goals for simple and enriching unstructured play together with their own children. So integrating this kind of digital media into
play-based learning can inform complex play narratives that children enact within their Early Childhood Education and care settings and at home this has talked about quite a bit in the Early Childhood of Australia statement that Susie was mentioning before which is fantastic so when we think about digital play in Early Education it is often intertwined with pop culture and digital play at home and in early learning settings is often influenced by children's media creating what we could visualize as a helix where we see times of convergence and separation in children's play and learning. So Linda will now take a deeper look at this idea and discuss how the inclusion of quality children's media and digital resources in Early Education can enrich children's learning by complicating their play in a good way particularly when we practice responsive and intentional teaching thank you Linda. Thanks Laura hi everyone I'm here today on Darkinung country and I'd also like to pay my respect to Elders past present and emerging and so if we dive a little deeper into meaningful pathways for the use of media and digital Technologies with children the ABC Kids programs on podcasts allow children to engage in a bit more divergent thinking and have some really deep investigations so if we're watching programs or listening to apps some podcasts together with children we're not just prescribing one way of thinking. Most of the ABC Kids programs encourage children to wonder and Keep thinking beyond the screen so this kind of joint media engagement where um children are watching together with their peers and with other adults they're actually participating in those digital activities together, so it could be watching a show or playing an app or co-listening to a podcast and children can ask questions and put forward their ideas and receive feedback from other adults and peers through that Digital Play so I guess um what particularly might fascinate a child um about Bluey we as Educators can then program for a pathway that meaningful inquiry-based learning so we can kind of incorporate that in our learning experiences that we provide for children and we can explore some of those social and emotional themes that um pop up within the Bluey scripts and I think pretend play small world play that's a really great way where we can explore those kinds of Concepts so there's one idea there on the screen and children can kind of retell and re-enact um the stories of Bluey through their play. So I think um if we're thinking about how we can include media and digital Technologies in early learning through responsive teaching we can kind of look at um extending learning beyond the screen and using that balanced intentional teaching approach so we can look at digital screens um as I guess windows or mirrors or a bit of a magnifying glass and one of the many tools that um we as teachers can use to reflect children's interests and help them explore the world so it doesn't um using digital uh technologies doesn't have to replace our Hands-On learning that we provide for children for through play instead it can really enhance it so you know the digital camera or the smart board or the tablet that we might provide you can sit alongside all those other traditional play based resources like puzzles and dress-ups and blocks and all those fun things and we can really use technology to spark children's interests and extend their learning, foster that critical and creative thinking and I think um the early years frame early years learning framework refers to technologies quite a bit as well encouraging children to access Global Connections and resources and to encourage new ways of thinking so we can really um use Technologies to provoke children's curiosity and encourage that abstract thinking. I think uh also if we look at digital play and it actually involves children using many combinations of resources so they might be using digital and non-digital resources either by themselves or together with others so they might um you know make their own videos using puppets or they might use some digital time keepers while they're doing some running races and so with these digital devices we're using them with Hands-On materials so another I guess example is um this one in the photo here the children at this Centre had listened to an ABC kids listen podcast on imagine this and it was about um why did the dinosaurs die so that kind of um I guess children engaged in small world imaginative play to further explore the concepts and ideas that they heard in that podcast so there were there were kind of facts about palaeontologists and the different dinosaurs species and that kind of sparked learning about different Landscapes and different types of dinosaurs and lots of learning was um happening there through a kind of exploration as well as conversations and investigations through that Digital Play.
Another great podcast is story salad and I think ABC Kids listening has really um wide catalogue of educational podcasts that Educators can kind of dip into and to develop children's skills as those confident and involved Learners, and with this particular podcast um I'm not sure if you've heard of it but the um hosts actually have to make up a story in three minutes using three words on the spot and it's a really good one for developing listening skills and understandings about how to structure a good story but the key is after we've kind of engaged with this media we can turn that experience into that playful doing so we can provide the art and craft materials for children to make their own puppets and then they can re-enact the stories or make up their own stories developing those literacy skills. So there's a new handbook out that's come out and recently two which is can kind of I guess supercharge your own playlist if you're an early childhood educator and it kind of steps through some yeah steps through all the podcasts and the kind of music programs that are on the site there and ways that you can incorporate that within your programming and planning. So the last slide um he he's just came to think about what opportunities lie ahead and I think when we think about um good quality children's media and digital content we can think about it as an effective tool for teaching and learning in early childhood settings so these are some of the ways which I've kind of already mentioned about sparking and extending upon children's interests and we can also Foster those Divergent thinking skills we can also help children build those important relationships with teachers and families and with their peers. So um I think another thing just to keep in mind and that idea of when we're using these digital technologies it is important that we co-view and co-play um with the children that way we're kind of part of their digital playgrounds and that can help us inform our Pathways for Learning and that way exploratory play can remain at the front of our programming and planning and then I think we really have that opportunity to shape children's relationship with technology if we embed it within our practice and I think as teachers every day we're making decisions aren't we about what resources we choose to use with young children and why and so we can also make choices about including media and digital technologies in the same way and it doesn't have to be something that's really extensive that in every day we we're including this it's more of a bit of a peppered approach and it fits all authentically into our daily programming and planning. So after we watch a program listen to a podcast
parents and Educators can encourage children to reflect on that content through real world play and there's lots of Early Education notes on the website where you can get some wonderful ideas for turning that viewing into playful doing at home so to finish off I think if you'd like to know more you can fe