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Issues in Educational Research, 2020, Vol 30(4), 1395-1417.
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A framework for identifying and developing children's creative thinking while coding with digital technologies

Karen Murcia, Coral Pepper
Curtin University, Western Australia

Mathilda Joubert
Sheridan Institute of Higher Education, Western Australia

Emma Cross
Busy Bee Early Learning, Western Australia

Sinead Wilson
Curtin University, Western Australia

We present research that explored digital coding in an Australian early years learning centre and how it impacted on a focus group of 3 and 4-year-old children's creativity. The questions that guided the design experimental method were: (1) how do young children develop and demonstrate creativity when learning through play with digital coding technologies? and (2) what does creativity look like in young children's engagement with digital coding technologies? After firstly discussing the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) context of the research, we explore the meaning of creativity in the early years and establish the conceptual framework for analysing children's play and learning with a BeeBot coding toy and iPad app. Importantly, our review and synthesis of significant literature led to the development of an innovative framework, the 'A' to 'E' of children's creativity. This framework includes five proposed characteristic clusters of children's creativity, including agency, being curious, connecting, daring and experimenting. Using critical episodes in an illustrative learning journey analysed through the framework, the children's use of a BeeBot and a BeeBot iPad application showed that creativity can be largely impacted by digital coding. We conclude by proposing pedagogical principles that could better enable children's creativity when learning, especially when coding with digital technologies.
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Authors: Dr Karen Murcia (corresponding author) is an Associate Professor in the School of Education, Curtin University. Her research interests include scientific literacy for citizenship, creativity with digital technologies and STEM education. She is a researcher with the Australian National Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child, Chair of Child Australia and a Scitech Discovery Centre Board Member.
Email: karen.murcia@curtin.edu.au
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1900-2781

Dr Coral Pepper is a Research Associate and Sessional Lecturer in the School of Education, Curtin University. Her research interests include science, STEM and sustainability education, in addition to educational leadership.
Email: coral.pepper@iinet.net.au, coral.pepper@curtin.edu.au
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2750-886X

Mathilda Joubert is Director of Excellence and Innovation at Sheridan Institute of Higher Education in Perth, Australia. Her research and professional practice focuses on the intersections of creativity and innovation with education, business, neuropsychology and the arts.
Email: mjoubert@sheridan.edu.au
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8261-3315

Emma Cross is a Director and Education Leader with a Busy Bee Early Learning Centre in Perth, Western Australia. Her action research experiences include children's STEM inquiry, and pedagogies supporting children's learning with tangible coding devices. Her research interests also include leadership within genderised workforces.
Email: manager@fremantle.busybees.edu.au
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0974-3287

Sinead Wilson is a Research Assistant in the School of Education at Curtin University. Her PhD research is focused on parent and educator approaches to young children's engagement and safety while playing and learning with technologies.
Email: sinead.wilson@curtin.edu.au
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7481-7967

Please cite as: Murcia, K., Pepper, C., Joubert, M., Cross, E. & Wilson, S. (2020). A framework for identifying and developing children's creative thinking while coding with digital technologies. Issues in Educational Research, 30(4), 1395-1417. http://www.iier.org.au/iier30/murcia2.pdf

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Created 10 Dec 2020. Last correction: 10 Dec 2020.
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