Exploring Alternative Pathways: Children, Pedagogy and Play in the Age of Digital Technology
Keywords:pedagogy, children, play, day camp, drama-in-education
Children today are immersed in a digital environment that is marginalizing and, in many cases, obliterating multiple forms of traditional childhood play. No doubt there are multiple benefits embedded in digital technology but we will argue that something very important in the education and socialization of children has been lost. After a brief review of the literature establishing the significance of play in the life of children, we will outline a pedagogical response to the challenges of digital technology as it increasingly restructures and transforms the play world of children. Reflecting on our own work with children over the past four decades, we will offer a pragmatic response that both parallels the emphasis placed by Johan Huizinga (1938/1955) on the primacy of play in the evolution of culture and, at the same time, strongly reflects the view advocated by Neil Postman (1979) of creating a “thermostatic mechanism” that would counter-balance the dominant presence of electronic media in the lives of children.
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