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Designing Digital Experiences for Positive Youth DevelopmentFrom Playpen to Playground$
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Marina Umaschi Bers

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199757022

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199757022.001.0001

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Digital Playgrounds vs. Virtual Playpens in Early Childhood

Digital Playgrounds vs. Virtual Playpens in Early Childhood

Chapter:
(p.21) Chapter 1 Digital Playgrounds vs. Virtual Playpens in Early Childhood
Source:
Designing Digital Experiences for Positive Youth Development
Author(s):

Marina Umaschi Bers

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199757022.003.0002

This chapter explores the metaphor of the playground as an open space in which young children can play safely on their own or with peers, without constant supervision and adult engagement. It contrasts the playground experience with the metaphor of the playpen as a confined space that offers constrained choices and limited space for experimentation. It examines how both playgrounds and playpens are designed to meet and promote developmental milestones specific to the pre-school years. Building on this metaphor, the chapter explores the available programs and software for young children aged 2-5 through the lens of designed play spaces. Digital playgrounds offer open exploration and allow children to create, rather than consume. In these technological spaces, children can use their imaginations and learn new skills, taking risks that positively impact their development.

Keywords:   Constructionism, imagination, play, “edutainment,” autonomy, robotics, programming, developmentally appropriate practice, Erikson, early childhood

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