Hello TEC Center Community,
I want to thank you for your support and contributions to the TEC Center community during the past four years. I am leaving TEC Center on Friday, April 19th to move to Colorado where I will be leading an exciting project to bring together tech ventures, practitioners, researchers, policymakers and funders to form an ecosystem to support innovation in early childhood in Colorado. My new position in Denver will allow me to continue to do other projects including a book for NAEYC with TEC’s founding director, Chip Donohue and consulting and professional development programs with schools, foundations, and tech companies.
I am so proud of what our tiny but mighty team built together including TEC Mentors, a nationally recognized professional development program, incredible resources on our website that have reached thousands of early childhood professionals, a tech loaning library for the Erikson community and exciting new partnerships that brought classroom educators, librarians, museum educators, out of school time educators and policymakers together to share and develop best practices for technology integration and media literacy education in early childhood at the many incredible convenings we hosted during my time at the TEC Center.
3 Lessons I Learned On My TEC Journey
1. Relationships Matter. We have so many incredible TEC friends that have gotten on planes and trains from as far away as Australia to collaborate with us and I will be forever grateful for each of you. I am in awe of the TEC Mentors and educators that have driven hours to be with us or written us to share your tech integration stories and helped us build a community of educators committed to sharing what works and what doesn’t work in tech integration in your busy early childhood classrooms and settings. We would not have the TEC Center our team dreamed of without you!
2. Make Time to Play Together. Early childhood professionals need time to play with technology tools and with one another to develop meaningful and appropriate approaches to using technology tools with young children. It is the “secret sauce” in our TEC Mentors professional development programs and conference workshops. I am passionate about play and developing a culture where we all play for life with and without tech. Thank you for playing with me and continuing to play with the children and families you serve!
3. Never stop asking hard questions. Technology is a powerful tool and we still have much to learn about how young children learn best with technology. We need to ask hard questions about existing research, help educators understand what existing research tells us and we need to do more research in the actual places young children spend their days. Our team, the early childhood professionals and the families we serve have so many questions. We have to engage funders and partners in helping us learn all we can about technology use with young children. When I came to the TEC Center in 2015, I wanted to focus on connecting the latest research and policies to practice in our TEC Mentors professional development programs. Educators are hungry to hear how they can apply the latest research to their work with children and families. As we learned from Fred Rogers and TEC Center’s early career research fellow, Katie Paciga, PhD there are very few studies on technology that have been conducted in early childhood settings, especially classrooms. I begged Erikson’s administrators to help us bring a researcher to the TEC Center. As I step away, I am excited to see what our new director, Alexis Lauricella, PhD will learn as she adds research as the largest pillar in our mission.
Tamara Kaldor, associate director, TEC Center