2017-18 TEC Center STEM in Early Childhood Lab for Erikson Students, Alumni & Faculty

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The Technology in Early Childhood Center is excited to announce we will be offering a FREE two-day STEM Lab for Erikson Students, Alumni and Faculty on August 2-3, 2017. In addition, we will be bringing two speakers (TBA) to Erikson during the 2017-18 academic year to share expertise and windows into early childhood programs that are leaders in STEM integration.

Apply by Wednesday, June 21, 2017: Apply for the program

12 students and alumni will be selected

Keep reading for more information about what to expect

Why have STEM Lab at Erikson?

STEM Lab is a very special opportunity to come together as a community of Erikson students, alumni and faculty to construct our own knowledge through play and exploration about the role of the T in STEM. In 2016-17, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) came to the forefront of early childhood policy and new resources for professionals and families began being created but with little professional development offerings to help early childhood professionals gain the confidence and competence to support young children learning foundational STEM concepts.

Many Erikson students from Early Childhood Education to Administration to Child Life graduates are entering the workforce to discover that they are being asked to make critical decisions about the integration of technology, digital media and STEM 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 and bring STEM experiences to young children and their caregivers who may not be exposed to these important concepts. Informal educators in libraries, museums, zoos, and out-of-school time programs are becoming media mentors and leading STEM education. Early childhood educators in formal and informal settings are being asked to make important decisions about the role of technology and STEM in their classrooms, programs and family engagement.

Our field needs more diverse leaders as media mentors and STEM leaders 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, media use and STEM concepts 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.

About STEM Lab:

Our goal for our two-day Lab is to work together to create play-based learning experiences for the adults in a young child’s life and young children that are STEM-based, focusing on using the T in STEM appropriately and meaningfully with young children. The TEC team uses STEM Lab as our own time to experiment, iterate and develop new ideas and innovative approaches to early childhood professional development.

We are interested in diving deeper to:

  • connect the T to the S, E and M in our work with early childhood professionals
  • think about equity and access in STEM
  • design meaningful hands-on STEM experiences for early childhood professionals that they can translate into their work with children and families for immediate impact
  • explore the role of culture in the making and tinkering movement in early childhood
  • to play, to learn and to grow as early childhood professionals with our colleagues and students

Early childhood education and development students, alumni, and faculty will spend two days, August 2nd and 3rd, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm designing and creating play-based tech integrated learning experiences for early childhood. Hands-on play time to explore, tinker and develop your 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 integration will allow participants to work with the TEC Center staff to develop meaningful play-based learning experiences for their individual early childhood settings.

What to expect during the TEC Center’s STEM for Early Childhood Lab

Day 1 at Erikson Institute

On Day 1, we spend the day exploring the TEC Center Tools Collection to learn more about the T in STEM, robots and ramps.

Exploring, Playing, Designing and Reflecting

  • STEM Journals
  • T in STEM: Exploring early childhood robotics
  • Mazes, Ramps and Loose Parts

Day 2 at City Colleges of Chicago Truman College’s Tinker Lab

On Day 2, we meet at Erikson alumni’s Truman College Tinker Lab to take apart a technology tool and build wind tunnels. We begin exploring where the maker and tinkering movement belong in our work and what cultural implications we need to consider.

Making and Tinkering

  • Take Apart
  • Put Together: Wind Tunnels and Tubes
  • Culture and STEM

NOTE: There is FREE parking at City Colleges of Chicago Truman College

Any child(ren) of students, alumni and faculty attending STEM Lab is invited to join in the two days of hands-on activities in August. We invite children of all ages to join.

All adult participants are expected to be fully engaged on August 2-3, 2017 from 9:00 am-3:00 pm. We welcome children of all ages, but as we all know at Erikson “it depends” on if a child is best suited to attend STEM Lab with a caring adult. Adult participants need to come prepared to spend both days engaged in STEM Lab and should make appropriate arrangements to have a child picked up if the child needs to leave early. We have designed two days of child inclusive, hands-on playing and learning experiences. We will provide a timed agenda prior to the workshop so you can plan for your child’s needs accordingly. Wearable infants and nursing mothers are also welcome. A parent or guardian must be present the entire time with a child at Truman College in the Tinker Lab.

 Apply for the program by Monday, May 22, 2017

Keep scrolling and reading to learn more about the TEC Center, the T in STEM and other FAQs.

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

The TEC Center at Erikson Institute empowers early childhood professionals 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 2016, the TEC Center was recognized by The White House for our contributions to Early Learning and STEM.

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 approach to putting the T in STEM

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.

Who funds the TEC Center’s STEM for Early Childhood Lab?

The entire program is funded through the generous support of private donors committed to STEM professional development in early childhood in partnership with a matching education fund and in-kind contributions from the TEC Center for designing and leading the program and mentoring students. In addition, the James Dyson Foundation, KaBoom! and other organizations are generously donating or loaning some of the supplies for our workshop

About STEM Lab: 

Our innovative hands-on approach to professional development will lead a small group of Erikson students, alumni and faculty 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 screens.

Early childhood education and development students, alumni, and faculty will spend two days, August 2nd and 3rd, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm designing and creating play-based tech integrated play experiences for early childhood. Hands-on play time to explore, tinker and hone their 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 integration will allow participants to work with the TEC Center staff to develop meaningful play-based learning experiences for their individual early childhood settings.

Apply for the program by May 22, 2017

Who is eligible to apply?

  • We will accept a total of 12 Erikson Institute students and alumni from our Online and In-Person Early Childhood Education and Child Development Masters and Doctoral programs. In addition, we welcome Erikson faculty.
    • Alumni can purchase CEUs at the alumni discount of 20% from Continuing Ed.
    • Students and Alumni must commit to attending both days from 9:00 am- 3:00 pm.

Apply by Monday, May 22, 2017: Apply for the program

All applicants will be notified by Friday, June 9, 2017

Please contact Jessica Kubacki, Program Manager, TEC Center at Erikson Institute with any questions or concerns.

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