Verenikina, Irina; Herrington, Janice A.; Harris, Pauline; and Lysaght, Pauline, 2004, Child's play: Exploring computer software through theories of play, in P. Jeffery (ed.), Proceedings of ED-MEDIA 2004: World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia & Telecommunications, Norfolk VA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), 4070-4074.
The developments of increasingly sophisticated computer technologies, and growing access to computers in both homes and schools, have seen a proliferation of computer programs and games in children’s play. Such programs are commonly used in Early Childhood settings as appealing and valuable forms of computer-based play. Whilst it is important to judge such software on the basis of its learning outcomes, it is equally important to look at the developmental value of its play component. This paper provides a brief overview of classical and modern theories of play and presents a framework for using these theories as a basis for assessing the developmental value of computer software programs for young children. An example of this approach in practice, involving the evaluation of software by preservice Early Childhood educators, is presented.