Went to an early session today - High-Tech tots explored the intersections between literacy and technology in early childhood. Marina Bers work (see above) on robotics in the early years was fascinating. She described how young children might first understand some basic principles by a role-play of programming their teacher...a metaphorically loaded idea. But on the more practical level she and her colleagues help young children to programme robots with 'smart' wooden blocks and that's impressive work. Nicola Yelland was also very good on problematising play as a concept. This enriched yesterday's reflections on playful spaces. In these cases play was presented in terms of adult designed spaces populated by material objects (also designed by adults) in which children were encouraged to engage in creative and informal activity. They varied to the extent to which adult intentions might impact on children's learning. The book which showcases the work is called High-Tech Tots, so I went straight to the publishers' stand at AERA to grab a copy. There I was told it was for display only, so I helped myself to some promotional lip-salve as recompense!