TEC Center STEM in Early Childhood Lab for Erikson Students, Alumni & Faculty

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TEC Center STEM in Early Childhood Lab for Erikson Students, Alumni & Faculty

August 2016-May 2017

About the Technology in Early Childhood (TEC) Center at the Erikson Institute.

The TEC Center at Erikson Institute empowers early childhood educators to make informed decisions about the appropriate use of technology with children from birth through age 8. Through carefully selected resources and real-world examples, the Center strengthens educator’s digital media literacy and their ability to intentionally select, use, integrate, and evaluate technology in the classroom and other early childhood settings.  In April 2016, the TEC Center was recognized by The White House for our contributions to Early Learning and STEM.

The TEC Center approach to putting the T in STEM

Image courtesy of Ada McKinley Community Services, Inc.

Image courtesy of Ada McKinley Community Services, Inc.

All children should have the opportunity to benefit from strong relationships with “media mentors” and have experiences to make meaning from working with technology tools.

The TEC Center believes the “T” in STEM for young children should be a lowercase “t” because we see technology as a powerful and empowering tool that helps ALL young children learn core concepts in Science, Engineering, and Math, as well as learning early literacy, storytelling and communication skills. The focus for young children and their caregivers should be on learning to use technology as a tool for learning, investigating, and creating. Educators should include computational thinking and pre-coding experiences that are play-based in their classrooms. Social Workers, Child Life Specialists, and Early Interventionists should include technology experiences to support children learning early STEM concepts in their work with young children and their caregivers that may not have access to technology tools in their home or understand how to use them appropriately. There is a wide digital divide not just in what technology tools educators, children, and families have access to, but also there is a digital use gap and an emerging gap in the core concepts in STEM being taught to children. We must be very mindful of this digital gap and work to close this inequality in knowledge and experience. Scientific inquiry and high order math thinking are critical skills that all children will need for school readiness and success and to one day compete in the workforce to become our innovation leaders, explorers, and innovators.

About the TEC Center’s STEM for Early Childhood Student Lab

The entire program is funded through the generous support of private donors committed to STEM professional development in early childhood in partnership with an Exxon-Mobil matching education fund and in-kind contributions from the TEC Center for designing and leading the program and mentoring students.

T4EY_12 06About the program: Our innovative hands-on approach to professional development will lead a small group of Erikson Institute students studying early childhood education to create play-based learning experiences for young children that are STEM-based (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and to integrate technology and STEM concepts with and without technology.

Early childhood education and development students, alumni, and faculty will spend three days (August 23rd, 24th, and 25th, 9:30am – 3:30pm) before the start of the 2016-17 school year designing and creating play-based tech integrated play and lesson plans for early childhood that they will test and iterate throughout the school year in either their internship or workplace with children and families. Hands-on play time to explore, tinker and hone students’ comfort with technology and STEM concepts will be included, so participants return to their early childhood settings confident to teach these new skills and concepts. This introduction to design thinking and tech integrated lesson planning will allow participants to work with the TEC Center staff to develop meaningful play-based learning experiences for their individual early childhood settings bringing personalized learning to each classroom.

Why should you apply?

iPads-to-support-inquiryMany Erikson students from Early Childhood Education to Administration to Child Life graduates are entering the workforce to discover that they are being asked to use or make decisions about the integration of technology and digital media in their work with young children and families. Home visitors and social workers are exploring ways to use technology to connect to parents and children who can’t make it into their office. Informal educators in libraries, museums, zoos, and out-of-school time programs are becoming media mentors. Early childhood educators in formal and informal settings are being asked to make important decisions about the role of technology in their classrooms, programs and family engagement. Our field needs more diverse leaders as media mentors to speak to the role of technology and digital media in children’s development and early learning. Erikson Institute is deeply committed to preparing our students and alumni to be leaders in early childhood education, policy creation, and professional development in their chosen area of expertise, this includes the considerations of technology and media use with young children. This is an opportunity to tinker, explore, research, and ask hard questions in a safe space with the thought leaders in technology and early childhood at the TEC Center while building your professional portfolio and experience that today’s employers are seeking at no cost to you.

Estimated time commitment:

  • Alumni, Masters of Science in Early Childhood Education (MSECE), Child Development (MSCD), Masters of Social Work (MSW), Certificate, and PhD students an estimated minimum 30 hr. commitment for the entire 2016-17 school yr. to attend all of the required in-person sessions and online meetings, including time to complete the final project.
    • This estimated time does not include time observing, documenting or working directly with children refining lesson and play plans developed during the lab. That time is up to you and your supervisor to determine.
  • Online Masters of Science in Early Childhood Education (MSECE) students who are taking Action Research in Diverse Early Education Settings and who can attend sessions at Erikson may apply. We estimate that the program requires an estimated minimum of 24 hr. commitment for the entire 2016-17 school yr. to attend all of the required in-person sessions and online meetings.
    • This estimated time does not include required weekly postings, WebEx conversations, annotated bibliography project, or two assigned Action Research Progress Reports or the Reflection Paper that are required for that course.
    • This estimated times does not include preparing a presentation for the showcase for the Erikson community in April 2017.
  • For Masters of Science in Child Development (MSCD) interns an estimated minimum 30 hr. commitment for the entire 2016-17 school yr. to attend all of the required in-person sessions and online meetings, including time to complete the final project.
    • This estimated time does not include time observing, documenting or working directly with children refining lesson and play plans developed during the lab. That time is up to you and your supervisor to determine.
    • This estimated time does not include internship reflection meetings.
    • If you are interested in being a TEC Center intern during the 2016-17 academic yr. please email tkaldor@erikson.edu to discuss this prior to applying to this program.

Outcomes for Participants

Students and alumni will apply for the program (see application) and be mentored throughout the 2016-17 school year to develop approaches to teaching media literacy and STEM concepts to children and their caregivers. Participants will have access to technology tools from the TEC Center Collection at the Edward Neisser Library throughout the 2016-17 school year to use at their site and will be mentored by Tamara Kaldor, Assistant Director of the TEC Center and an Erikson graduate.

Participants will receive a TEC Center certificate of completion at the end of the program and will have a showcase event for the Erikson community where they will share their play and lesson plans and demonstrate what they have learned about STEM, early learning and technology integration. In addition, they will each receive a tangible tech item (i.e.: robotics, coding toy, etc.) for their own STEM toolkit. This customized experience for Erikson’s students builds on the effective model for professional development developed by the TEC Center.

Five important characteristics necessary to implement STEM in the classroom:

  1. Reflection
  2. Research
  3. Discovery
  4. Application
  5. Communication

What students at Erikson Institute are eligible to apply?

  • Students must be currently employed or doing an internship at an early childhood school, child care center, after-school program, or informal learning program where you work directly with children (i.e. library, museum, or community program) during the 2016-17 school year, September 2016 – April/May 2017. The exception to this is if you would like to apply for an internship with the TEC Center.
  • We will accept a total of 12 Erikson Institute students and alumni from our Online and In-Person Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Development Masters programs.

Who should apply? We encourage:

  • MSECE and MSCD first-year, second-year, and third-year students and all Certificate students attending courses or that can get to in-person sessions at Erikson Institute who are employed or interning in an early childhood setting during the 2016-17 school year where you work directly with children in a play-based program.
  • Online MSECE students who are enrolling in Integrative Seminar: Action Research during the 2016-17 academic year and can attend the 3-day in-person STEM Lab sessions August 23rd-25th, 2016 and the showcase in April 2017. You will be encouraged to develop an Action Research Project based on STEM, media literacy, or another tech-focused area of interest. The TEC Center team can help you develop an inquiry project and link you to resources that will support your investigation.
  • This program is not recommendedfor third-year students beginning their student teaching in the MSECE program.
  • Students and alumni must commit to attend all of the scheduled in-person STEM Learning Lab sessions August 23rd, 24th, and 25th, 9:30 am – 3:30 pm.
    • Day 1 Lab: Learn Media Literacy and STEM concepts
    • Day 2 Lab: Play with STEM: robotics, coding, microscopes and more
    • Day 3 Lab: Design STEM learning experiences for young children
      • NOTE: We can provide you with a letter of support to share with an employer or internship supervisor upon acceptance to the program
      • Alumni can purchase CEUs at the alumni discount of 20% from Continuing Ed.

Upon acceptance into the program participants will be required to:

  • Obtain the signature of their workplace or internship supervisor allowing you to document your work with parents and children through photography, video, and child and parent interviews during the 2016-17 school year (NOTE: we will provide a release form upon acceptance into the program)
  • Participants agree to have their lesson plans posted on the TEC Center website as a shared resource (NOTE: we will provide a release form upon acceptance into the program)
  • Attend all of the scheduled in-person STEM Learning Lab sessions August 23rd, 24th, and 25th, 9:30 am – 3:30 pm
    • Day 1 Lab: Learn Media Literacy STEM concepts
    • Day 2 Lab: Play with STEM: robotics, coding, microscopes and more
    • Day 3 Lab: Design STEM learning experiences for young children
  • Participate in two of the 2016-17 TEC Center webinars.
    • There will be two webinars in the Fall and two during the Winter and Spring of 2017 to select from.
    • NOTE: Participants can watch the recording if they can’t join the live webinar Schedule, presenters, and topics to be posted soon on the TEC Center website.
  • Participate in the online TEC Center Community of Practice by posting at least once per month from August 2016 through March 2017.
    • Exemption for Online Masters of Early Childhood Education students doing their Action Research Project, who will be posting in their own online community.
  • Meet two times during the year in Personal Learning Networks (PLN) Participants will organize and schedule these in-person or virtual meetings at the 3-day STEM Lab to discuss their work, share ideas and reflect on implications for classroom practice. You will be asked to document PLN meetings through social media and our online community of practice. PLNs will set their own meeting schedules that will be developed during the STEM Learning Labs this summer.
  • Produce a final project due April 14, 2017, that includes:
    • Two tech integrated STEM play and lesson plans
    • One reflective short essay (min. 500 words) on STEM in early childhood or on media literacy and technology-mediated family engagement in early childhood that may be posted as a blog post on the TEC Center’s website upon review.
      • Exemption for Online Masters of Early Childhood Education students doing their Action Research Project, who will be writing a final progress report Reflection Paper for their program.
  • Complete two to three surveys on your professional development experience throughout the 2016-17 school year that will be administered and collected by the TEC Center for data analysis and program improvement.
  • Share your final projects with the Erikson community at a showcase event in April or early May 2017. Site supervisors will be invited to the event and to share their reflections on changes they see in their program as a result of your participation.
  • Participants will be encouraged to submit proposals to various local conferences to share their work upon completion of the program

Apply by Friday, July 11, 2016: http://goo.gl/forms/WENvdDqzw6

All applicants will be notified by Friday, July 21, 2016

Please contact Tamara Kaldor, Assistant Director, TEC Center at Erikson Institute with any questions or concerns. There will be no exemptions for the in-person 3-day lab sessions. You cannot be a participant or receive a certificate without attending the in-person sessions and completing the final project, along with the other requirements. 

tkaldor@erikson.edu

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