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Pink Gradient


Young Children and Digital Technologies

Speaker: Professor Susan Edwards

Director of the Early Childhood Futures Research Program and Head of Discipline for Early Childhood Education,
Australian Catholic University

Young children and digital technologies have been a topic of research, policy and practice in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) for more than forty years. The early days of research and thinking about young children and digital technologies evolved as digital computing became increasingly available and domesticated in the lives of many people, especially in industrialised societies. The advent of digital technologies in the lives of young children has raised many questions and concerns over time, such as the impact of technologies on children’s health and wellbeing, how best to use technologies to support young children’s learning and the role of digital technologies in young children’s play. As societies have continued to evolve with digital technologies, including the integration of the internet with daily life tasks, entertainment, work and education systems questions about young children and digital technologies continue to emerge. These include the ongoing role of technologies in children’s health and wellbeing, the need for online safety education for young children, and most recently the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into digital applications, games, content and educational services intended for pre-school aged children. Regarding AI there is an important distinction to make between AI in Education and AI and Education. AI in Education focuses on the use of AI to support and advance learning and teaching. AI and Education considers the important safety, privacy and ethical dimensions of using AI with young children. This address provides a historical interpretation of the ongoing relationship between young children and digital technologies, explaining how technological determinism has shifted in recent years towards understanding the relationship between people, technologies and society using critical constructivism. Critical constructivism provides an important basis for continuing to understand AI and online safety education in the early years.

Date: 8 May 2024, Wednesday

Time: 12nn - 1:30pm (HKT)

Venue: Zoom Webinar / D2-LP-05, The Education University of Hong Kong

*Simultaneous interpretation in Cantonese will be available

*Light lunch will be served in the lecture on a first-come-first-served basis.  Lunch may not be provided to event participants who register after 30 April.

About the speaker

Professor Susan Edwards

Professor Susan Edwards is Director of the Early Childhood Futures research program and Head of Discipline for Early Childhood Education at Australian Catholic University. Her research focuses on the play, learning and developmental opportunities afforded young children growing up in digital society. Professor Edwards has a career total of six Australian Research Council Grants – with four of these as the first-named Chief Investigator. She has published in field significant and high impact journals, including Computers and Education, British Educational Research Journal and Educational Research Review. She has published authored and edited book collections with SAGE, Routledge and Cambridge University Press. Professor Edwards has led and co-authored two national policy statements for the early years, including the Early Childhood Australia Statement on Young Children and Digital Technologies and the Playgroup Australia Statement. She is the immediate past Editor-in-Chief of the Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, having achieved the highest Impact Factor in the history of the journal during her term.

Pink Gradient

Discussion Panel

Professor Kerry Lee, Professor, EdUHK

Dr Annie Hu, Assistant Professor, EdUHK

Dr Anika Saxena, Lecturer, EdUHK

Ms Betty Yau, Principal, Fairchild Nursery and Kindergarten

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