Internet of toys across home and early childhood education: understanding the ecology of the child’s social world

Lorna Arnott, Ioanna Palaiologou, Colette Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


This article presents findings from an ongoing international study of children’s use of Internet-connected toys (IoToys) across Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Greece. The authors sought to investigate practices with IoToys across homes and early childhood settings. Data from 12 case study families and approximately 200 children who interacted with case study children in early childhood settings were collected alongside interviews with parents and educators. Findings indicate that digital difference between home and education is recurring due to infrastructure and budgetary issues in early childhood settings, resulting in organic play-based IoToy use at home versus structured adult-directed teaching of IoToys in early childhood practice. Working from a social-ecological theoretical frame however demonstrated that children skilfully and fluidly transitioned between digital and non-digital play and across diverse socio ecological contexts of home and early childhood settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-412
Number of pages12
JournalTechnology, Pedagogy and Education
Issue number4
Early online date15 Sep 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Sep 2019



  • digital childhood
  • internet of toys
  • ecologies
  • home/education divide
  • play
  • early childhood education

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