Playing IT Safe pilot project workshops

Do you want to help children and families use technology in ways that are safe, helpful and set up good habits for life? Participating in the Playing IT Safe workshop series will give you the confidence to use play-based learning to teach children about the digital world.

Playing IT Safe

Playing IT Safe is a new early learning initiative offering a suite of play-based activities that early childhood educators can use to teach young children about technologies, digital networks and online safety.

The activities have been developed through a co-design process along with early childhood educators who have tested and refined the activities with children in early learning settings. Aligned with Early Childhood Australia’s Statement on Young Children and Digital Technologies, these play-based activities are ideal for toddlers and preschool-aged children.

The pilot project

The Playing IT Safe pilot project, supported by Gandel Philanthropy, aims to build early childhood educators’ skills and knowledge by offering professional development workshops on how to implement the Playing IT Safe resources.

Also part of the project is a research study. To further understand how the resource is being used and how effective the initiative is in supporting children’s understanding of digital technologies and online safety, we will be inviting some project participants to be part of this research study.

The workshops

Over three weeks, there will be three online sessions providing detailed information on the Playing IT Safe activities and ways to deliver them. The workshops include reflective sessions where participants will get a chance to reflect on and share their experience with other educators.

Workshop 1: Teaching tech through play

Presented by technology researchers Dr Kate Highfield and Dan Donahoo, this workshop will provide participants with the knowledge and skills they need to confidently run the Playing IT Safe activities in their setting. Small group sessions at the end of the workshop will allow participants to select and discuss which Playing IT Safe activity they will be implementing.

Workshop 2: Reflecting

In this supported session, participants will reflect on their experience of running the Playing IT Safe activity. They will discuss children’s experience and learning, and consider how these can be further scaffolded.

Workshop 3: Learning more from best practice

In this final workshop, selected educators will present their work with the Playing IT Safe initiative, to highlight different ways in which the activities can work in early learning environments. Dr Kate Highfield and Dan Donahoo will be available for questions and follow-up queries.


Registration is complimentary and is open to all early childhood educators and carers working in early childhood settings. Registering for the workshops will register you to attend all three (3) events.

Workshop Dates Time Registration
Workshop 1: Teaching tech through play Tuesday 4 August 2020 3.30 pm – 5.00 pm AEST Open
Workshop 2: Reflecting Tuesday 11 August 2020 3.30 pm – 4.30 pm AEST Open
Workshop 3: Learning more from best practice Tuesday 18 August 2020 3.30 pm – 4.30 pm AEST Open

Register here


Dr Kate Highfield

Dr Kate Highfield

Dr Kate Highfield is an experienced teacher, teacher educator and researcher. As General Manager of Professional Learning and Research Translation at Early Childhood Australia, Kate explores effective technology integration and use, with a focus on potential impacts on learning (for adults and children), pedagogy and play.
Kate has spent over two decades working as a classroom teacher and as a teacher educator and researcher at Swinburne, Macquarie and Charles Sturt Universities. Her current research (supported by a range of grants and linkage projects) explores the impact of technology as a tool with young children, parents and educators. This work specifically focuses on the use of digital technologies in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEAM), including interactive screens, tablets, iPads and smartphones, robotics and techno-toys. Kate examines digital play, technology integration and how healthy media use can be used as a tool to enhance learning.

Dan Donahoo

Dan Donahoo

Dan Donahoo is a Senior Advisor at the Alannah & Madeline Foundation. He works at the intersection of play, technology and learning. Beginning his career as a toy librarian and casual childcare worker, Daniel has spent two decades researching, writing, advising and designing experiences supporting children’s digital media literacy. Daniel has advised leading app developers such as Toca Boca, and developed a wide range of digital learning and play experiences for children. Most recently he has overseen the development of the Playing IT Safe program, which uses play-based learning to teach young children digital literacy and online safety.


Recordings and Resources

Recordings of each workshop will be available after the event.

Statement on young children and digital technologies
Statement on young children and digital technologies – summary