Professor Susan Edwards

Research Director, Early Childhood Futures

Susan Edwards

Areas of expertise: philosophy of technology; digital practices in the early years; play and play-based learning; playgroups and enhancing adult capabilities about play

ORCID ID: 0000-0002-5945-0597

Phone: +613 9953 3531


Location: ACU Melbourne Campus

Professor Susan Edwards is Director of the Early Childhood Futures research program in the Institute for Learning Sciences & Teacher Education, Australian Catholic University. Her group investigates the role of play-based learning in the early childhood curriculum for the 21st century. Professor Edwards has completed work as a Chief Investigator on three Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Grants: the first examining play-based learning in early childhood education settings; the second, the role of play-based learning in wellbeing and sustainability education; and, the third identifying the characteristics of ‘converged’ play in early childhood. Most recently, Professor Edwards was successful in her application to lead a major ARC Linkage Project awarded to develop an online tool guiding the use of digital technology for service providers in early childhood.

Professor Edwards has over 70 publications in peer reviewed journals and has published several books with publishers including Cambridge University Press, McMillan and Open University Press. Her most recent book is titled Young Children's Play and Learning in the Digital Age (co-authored with Christine Stephen, University of Stirling).

Professor Edwards is the immediate past co-editor of the Asia Pacific Journal of Teacher Education and is currently on the editorial board for three journals (Early Years: International Journal of Research and Practice; Journal of Early Childhood Research; Australasian Journal of Early Childhood). Professor Edwards co-chaired the Early Childhood Australia Digital Policy Group (with Professor Leon Straker) producing Australia’s first national Statement on Young Children and Digital Technologies with Early Childhood Australia. Professor Edwards is also a winner of several awards for teaching excellence in the tertiary education sector, including a prestigious Australian Learning and Teaching Council award in 2009.

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Select publications

  • Edwards, S., Nuttall, J., Grieshaber, S. & Wood, E. (2019). New Play: A Pedagogical Movement for Early Childhood Education. In D. Whitebread & D. Pino-Pasternak. (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Developmental Psychology and Early Childhood Education. London: Sage.
  • Edwards, S., Mantilla, A., Henderson, M., Nolan, A., Skouteris, H. & Plowman, L. (2018). Teacher practices for building young children’s concepts of the internet through play-based learning. Educational Practice and Theory, 40(1), 29–50,
  • Stephen, C. & Edwards, S. (2017). Young Children Playing and Learning in a Digital Age: A Cultural and Critical Perspective. London: Routledge.
  • Edwards, S. (2017). Play-based learning and intentional teaching: Forever different?, Australasian Journal of Early Childhood,42(2), 4-11.
  • Edwards, S. (2015). New concepts of play and the problem of technology, digital media and popular-culture integration with play-based learning in early childhood education. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 25(4), 513-532.
  • Edwards, S., Skouteris, H., Cutter-Mackenzie, A., Rutherford, L., O’Conner, M., Mantilla, A., Morris, H. & Elliot, S. (2015), Young children learning about well-being and environmental education in the early years: A funds of knowledge approach’, Early Years, 36(1), 33–50.
  • Edwards, S. (2013). Digital play in the early years: A contextual response to the problem of integrating technologies and playbased pedagogies in the early childhood curriculum. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 21(2), 199–212.
  • Edwards, S. (2012). Teaching through assessment: reconsidering the transfer problem through a convergence of technology and assessment in early childhood teacher education’, Teachers and Teaching, 18(5), 585–599.


  • 2020-2023, Australian Research Council Linkage Program. Edwards, S, Salamon. A. Straker, L., Nolan, A., Henderson, M., Grieshaber, S., Highfield, K. and Skouteris, H. Young children in digital society: An online tool for service provision (LP 190100387). ARC Funding $556,000
  • 2017-2020, Australian Research Council Linkage Program. Edwards, S., McLean, K., Skouteris, H. Henderson, M. and Nolan, A. A best practice framework for playgroups-in-schools (LP 160101759) $156,000

Appointments and affiliations

  • 2019 November University of Edinburgh, Institute of Education, Community and Society
    Visiting Research Scholar –fully-funded by ACU University and awarded by University of Edinburgh via external application (one seminar on ECA Statement on Young Children and Digital Technologies; one workshop with HDR candidates)
  • 2019 Expert Advisor, Office of eSafety Commission Early Years Online Safety Program
  • 2018 Co-chair Early Childhood Australia National Digital Policy Group
  • Producing Australia’s first national Statement on Young Children and Digital Technologies
  • 2018 June Institute of Education, Hong Kong (HKIED)
    Invited Visiting Scholar – fully-funded and awarded via internationally competitive application (one seminar on the pedagogical play-framework; one recorded webinar on using the pedagogical play-framework in early childhood STEM education to be used with 300 pre-service teachers in Hong Kong).
  • 2014 March Institute of Education, Hong Kong (HKIED)
    Invited Visiting Scholar - fully-funded and awarded by HKIED via invited application (two seminars on the scholarship of teaching and integrating online learning with problem-based learning. Mentoring of academic staff in the writing for publication from the scholarship of teaching).
  • 2009 August –November 2009 The University of Oxford. Department of Educational Studies
    Visiting Research Fellowship - fully-funded by Monash University and awarded by University of Oxford via external application (two seminars on play-based learning and digital play to Departmental research groups, participated in all Department research activities and completed a detailed program of reading in the completed works of Vygotsky with the Oxford Centre for Socio-cultural and Activity Theory Research).

Editorial roles

  • 2016-2019 Australasian Journal of Early Childhood. Editorial board – Invited membership. Role: to increase quality of peer-reviews and consequent publications; to inform strategic plan moving journal to an established publisher.
  • 2012-2015 Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education. Co-editor – Competitive application. Role: assessing manuscripts, assigning reviewers, communicating with authors, checking proofs, writing editorials, managing budget and liaising with host organisation (Australian Teacher Education Association). Increased IF from 0.667 to 0.964
  • 2011-ongoing Journal of Early Childhood Research. Editorial board – Invited membership. Role: peer-reviewing manuscripts, promotion of journal in Australasia.
  • 2011-ongoing Early Years: International Journal of Research and Development. Editorial board – Invited membership: Role: peer-reviewing manuscripts, promotion of journal in Australasia.

International journal review panel

  • Computers and Education
  • Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood
  • Teaching and Teacher Educator
  • Australian Journal of Early Childhood
  • Early Years Journal of International Research and Development
  • Cambridge Journal of Education
  • International Journal of Play
  • He Kupu
  • Journal of Early Childhood Research
  • Teaching and Teachers
  • International Journal of Early Childhood



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