As digital technology takes up more and more space in everyday life, it also makes a mark on children’s culture of playing and the educational sector. Digital skills are becoming much more relevant for younger children than previously, and thereby digital playing and education takes a spot on the agenda for the kindergartens. But how to we properly equip the youngest kids for the digital development, without ending up with more screen time and “empty calories” on the tablet? And how do we cultivate the right pedagogical skills, with which to secure that new technologies are best put to use? These are some of the questions we look into with the development of Minimakerspace.
A central idea of the Minimakerspace project is the fact that digital competency is necessary in order to become an active citizen. It is no longer enough to be a digital consumer – in order to be a digital citizen you have to be able to approach technologies critically, and you have to be able to use them creatively to create new things. One of the goals of Minimakerspace is to make kindergarten children so comfortable with technologies that they become part of creative play on an equal footing with familiar materials as carton and modelling clay.
In the spring of 2016 the Ministry of Children, Education and Equality created a master group, which works on revising the pedagogical teaching plans, which also involve IT. From a pedagogical perspective, technology creates new ways for interaction, which can contribute to aesthetical learning processes. Learning technologies can make sense from a pedagogical point of view and can be a benefit and a support if used correctly. With the current focus on the skills of the 21st century, it is especially interesting to introduce technological education into the informal learning culture of younger children.
Innovation happens via the experimental playing and the culture of playing which is found in kindergartens. If technology is established in kindergartens in a way in which children become co-creators of their own digital culture of playing, passive time in front of a screen can be replaced with more active and creating activities that could support a diverse development in the children. Focusing on children’s cultural production is nothing new in itself, but the Minimakerspace project works with a new digital materiality where coding or 3D printing are seen as a material and a craft.