Jennifer Zacharis, Technology Integrationist and Coach at The Pike School in Andover, Massachusetts was one of many teachers who submitted a story connecting the NAEYC/Fred Rogers Center’s joint position statement on Technology and Interactive Media as Tools in Early Childhood Program and TEC Center’s work over the past five years to their practice. She shares her experiences of facilitating learning through coding.
At the Pike School in Andover, MA students as young as 4 are exposed to the concept of programming. In our lower school the KIBO Robot, by KinderLab Robotics has become the “toy” that is perfect for introducing this kind of learning. Through the act of arranging blocks to create a program and then scanning the commands with their robot, our students send their KIBO on a journey spinning, shaking, blinking lights and singing songs along the way. A recent first-grade bowling activity where students programmed their robots to travel and knock down plastic bowling pins, provided the opportunity to practice measurement, prediction, logical thinking and iteration in a fun goal-oriented way.
During our robotics activities, we watch as collaborative play launches kids into the role of young engineers who imagine, plan and problem solve situations with their peers, eventually preparing our students for more complex intellectual investigations and social negotiations that will be needed for a new era of innovation.
How has the NAEYC/Fred Rogers Center’s Joint Position Statement on Technology and Interactive Media as Tools in Early Childhood Programs influenced your work?
In my journey to expose teachers to new technology tools that have the potential to amplify their daily teaching in a way that can lead to powerful learning, I have found it important to stay up to date with research about developmentally appropriate practices. The NAEYC/Fred Rogers Center’s joint statement on Technology and Interactive Media as tools has served as one of my important resources about technology and its effect on young children. As stated in the Technology section of our school website,
we believe that a successful technology program is measured not so much by which technologies you use or by your frequency of using them but rather by what you choose to do with technology and how you use it.”
How has the TEC Center at Erikson Institute influenced your practice?
Your program has helped me stay up to date with best practices and innovative directions for STEM programs for young children.
About Jennifer Zacharis
Jennifer Zacharis has been encouraging teachers and students to expand their use of technology in the classroom since September 2001. She has organized collaborative opportunities for faculty to share and implement new and emerging technologies at 3 different independent schools.
To learn more about NAEYC/Fred Rogers Center’s joint position statement on Technology and Interactive Media as Tools in Early Childhood Programs and for more educators’ stories check out our 5th-anniversary celebration!