C&S SIGN Seminar Series (Mona Sakr)

‘Stretchy time’ versus ‘screen time’: Reframing digital play in relation to possibility thinking

DATE & TIME: 7th May, 12.30-13.30

LOCATION: Committee Room 2, Town Hall, MIDDLESEX UNIVERSITY, LONDON, NW4 4BT


Mona Sakr (Middlesex University)

Previous research suggests that children’s possibility thinking (‘what if’ thinking) is best supported by practitioners practising ‘stretchy time’ (Cremin et al., 2006; Craft et al., 2015). Popular views however repeatedly focus on the need for time limits around children’s digital play, thereby inhibiting support for possibility thinking. To explore this tension further, I investigate how early years practitioners conceptualise digital apps, possibility thinking and time in relation to each other. It reports on a day long workshop with 20 early years practitioners involving hands-on exploration of popular apps for children. Practitioners’ willingness to experiment with stretchy time around apps was shaped by the extent to which they believed that digital technologies could afford possibility thinking – when they saw the potential for children’s creative engagement, they were more willing to let go of the concerns around ‘screen time’.