TECPlay: How is children’s play impacted by technology?

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TECPlay occurred on April 27, 2018, and a report will be shared in June on this page.

Resources shared during the conference


8:30-9:00 am Registration, Breakfast and TEC Playground
9:00-9:20 opening conversation

Chip Donohue, PhD, Director, TEC Center, Erikson Institute, Senior Fellow, Fred Rogers Center
Tamara Kaldor, MS, Associate Director, TEC Center, Erikson Institute

9:20-10:30 Keynote + Ignite | Conversation with TECplay participants

Lydia Plowman, PhD, Fellow, UK Academy of Social Sciences, Chair Technology and Education, Moray House of Education, University of Edinburgh

10:30-11:30 How do we facilitate and scaffold digital play?

SPARK | Tamara KaldorTEC Center, Erikson Institute + Shuli Gilutz, PhD, Tel Aviv University, Google UX
Michael Blaustein, Learning Resources, Inc
Laura Zimmermann, PhDChild’s Play, Learning, and Development Lab, University of Delaware

11:30-12:00 pm Ignite | Conversation with TECPlay participants

Sara DeWittPBS Kids Digital

12:00-12:45 pm RECHARGE | Lunch and TEC Playground
12:45-1:00 pm REIGNITETECPlay participants ShareOut

Sara DeWittPBS Kids Digital

1:00-2:00 pm Does children’s creativity in play change with technology?

SPARK | Elizabeth Rood, EdDCenter for Childhood Creativity at the Bay Area Discovery Museum
Silvia LovatoCenter on Media and Human Development, Northwestern University
Todd Burleson, Hubbard Woods School
Shimira WilliamsC.C. Busy

2:00-2:15 pm Ignite | Conversation with TECPlay participants

David Kleeman, Dubit

2:15-2:45 pm Digital Play PERSPECTIVES

Jo BirdUniversity of New England, Australia
Suzy Edwards, PhD Australian Catholic University

2:45-3:30 pm Questions and reflections

Lydia Plowman, PhD, Fellow, UK Academy of Social Sciences, Chair Technology and Education, Moray House of Education, University of Edinburgh
Chip Donohue, PhD, TEC Center, Erikson Institute, Senior Fellow, Fred Rogers Center

check out what the tec team is reading to prep for tecplay and resources shared during the conference


Lydia Plowman, Phd

Keynote Speaker: Professor Lydia Plowman is a Fellow of the UK’s Academy of Social Sciences and Chair in Education and Technology at the Moray House School of Education, University of Edinburgh, Scotland. For more than 20 years her research has focused on young children playing and learning with digital media, particularly at home. As well as involving children as active participants in research, she aims to involve family members and educators in such a way that we can gain insights into their practices, values and attitudes and understand more about the ways in which technology is integrated into young children’s lives.


jo Bird

Jo is a lecturer at the University of New England, Armidale, Australia. She is just about to submit her PhD, which explored children’s use of digital technologies in imaginative play and the educator’s provision of these devices. Her research interests include children’s play, the use of technologies by both children and educators and early childhood leadership. Jo was an educator in early childhood settings for over 15 years prior to becoming a teacher educator.


Michael Blaustein

Michael Blaustein is a Product Manager at Learning Resources, Inc., a leader in educational toys and games for 30 years. With a lifelong passion for the world of interactive entertainment, and previous positions at Tiger Electronics and Vtech,  Michael has led the development of multiple award-winning toys, including a 2016 Toy of the Year Award winner, Tumble Trax. Michael’s current focus is on electronics, robotics and coding toys for preschool and kindergarten.


Todd Burleson

Todd Burleson is a Teacher-Maker-Librarian at the Hubbard Woods School in Winnetka, IL. His self-declared passion is the “awakening of curiosity in learners of all ages.” He is constantly striving to find the balance of books and bytes in his work with learners. Todd believes that STEAM education is the blending of all disciplines in a seamless and celebratory way. He works with classroom teachers and teacher librarians to explore how to can create experiential learning opportunities that authentically incorporate the 4 Cs and bring them to life in meaningful ways. Todd worked with his school community to renovate their library and create a makerspace called the IDEA (Innovation/Design/Engineering and Art) Lab. Todd is an international speaker and author of The Green Screen Maker Space Project Book.  He is active on Twitter and blogs at toddburleson.com


Sara Dewitt

Sara DeWitt is VP of PBS KIDS Digital, overseeing the Kidscreen- and Webby-award winning pbskids.org website, PBS KIDS streaming video services, the PBS KIDS portfolio of educational apps for children, and the PBS KIDS for Parents digital experiences. Most recently, Sara led her team through the development of a digital live stream with game extensions, an integral part of the new PBS KIDS 24/7 service. In 2014, she was named one of the top 42 Women Leading in Education by the USC Rossier School of Education and was named a Top Woman in Digital by Cynopsis Media in 2016 and 2017. Before PBS, DeWitt worked as a preschool teacher and studied media habits of children in rural areas. She holds a BA and an MA in English from Stanford University, and a certificate from the University’s Children, Society, and Public Policy curriculum. She is a military spouse and mom to two young sons.


 Chip Donohue, Phd

Chip Donohue, Ph.D., is the Director of the Technology in Early Childhood Center at Erikson where he works to empower early childhood educators to make informed decisions about the appropriate and intentional use of technology with young children. He is also the Chip is a Senior Fellow of the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at Saint Vincent College, where he co-chaired the working group that revised the 2012 NAEYC & Fred Rogers Center Joint Position Statement on Technology and Interactive Media as Tools in Early Childhood Programs serving children from Birth through Age 8.


susan edwards

Professor Susan Edwards is Director of the Early Childhood Futures research program in the Learning Sciences Institute of Australia (LSIA), 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 two Australian Research Council Discovery Grants. The first examining play-based learning in early childhood education settings, and the second the role of play-based learning in wellbeing and sustainability education. She is currently the lead Chief Investigator on an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant on digital play and an Australian Research Council Linkage Project investigating best practice for playgroups-in-schools. Susan 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).


Shuli Gilutz, phd

Shuli Gilutz, Ph.D., specializes in user research, assessment, strategy, and design, of interactive environments for children. She works both in industry and academia, teaching, guiding, and conducting research, in a variety of user experience (UX) settings, as well as a strategic consultant for development of children’s digital experiences. In 2002 Dr. Gilutz co-authored the first edition of the first report on Children’s Web Usability with Jakob Nielsen at the NN/g, and has since continued publishing and presenting UX research internationally. Shuli founded and moderates the Child-Computer Interaction research FB group with over 1,000 members worldwide, and works to combine research and practice with startups both at Google Launchpad and MindCET accelerators.


Tamara Kaldor

Tamara Kaldor is the Associate Director of the Technology in Early Childhood Center at Erikson Institute, where she empowers early childhood educators to make informed decisions about the appropriate use of technology with children from birth to age 8. Tamara is a child development expert with over a decade of experience teaching and consulting with parents, educators, and leading international organizations to integrate technology to support the social-emotional and learning needs for ALL children. Tamara has collaborated with such organizations as UNICEF, UNESCO, International Society for Technology and Education (ISTE), NAEYC, the Interdisciplinary Council on Development and Learning (ICDL), and Common Sense Media.


David Kleeman

David Kleeman is Senior Vice President of Global Trends for Dubit.  David is advisory board chair to the international children’s TV festival (Prix Jeunesse) and a board member of the National Association for Media Literacy Education and the Children’s Media Association. He is a past Governor of the Television Academy, a 2013 Senior Fellow of the Fred Rogers Center and received the 2014 “Pioneer” Award from Kids @ Play Interactive. For 25 years, he was President of the American Center for Children and Media. He writes extensively for trade and general press, including frequent commentaries for the Huffington Post and Kidscreen.


silvia Lovato

Silvia Lovato is a children’s digital media producer turned researcher. She’s currently a doctoral candidate at the Center on Media and Human Development at Northwestern University, where she is researching children’s question-asking behavior and voice interfaces. Before arriving at Northwestern, Silvia spent over 10 years working on educational games and other interactive features for children ages 2 to 12 at PBS KIDS Digital. She has worked on projects ranging from formal curriculum areas like math and science to music, consumer education and emotional well-being. A native of Brazil, Silvia started her career in online journalism before moving to the United States. She has a master’s degree in Communication, Culture, and Technology from Georgetown University.


Elizabeth Rood, EdD

Elizabeth Rood, EdD, is VP of Education Strategy, and Director of the Center for Childhood Creativity at the Bay Area Discovery Museum. Prior to joining the museum in 2014, Elizabeth worked for more than 15 years in formal education as a teacher, principal, and executive director in urban small schools with a focus on personalization, equity, and progressive education. Elizabeth is a frequent speaker at local, national, and international gatherings, and serves on several Bay Area education boards. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Brown University and Teaching and Administrative credentials and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Mills College.


Shimira Williams

Shimira Williams is the Co-Founder of C.C. Busy, a startup that uses digital assistants to give the power of voice to family child care homes. Shimira is an authentic change agent, builds digital citizens through play and productivity. Her portfolio also includes The WOOSH Interactive Table and The Beauty of S.T.E.M. A Pittsburgh native, her work at the intersection early childhood and technology is grounded in her experiences as the owner/operator of TEKStart, a licensed home-based group child care facility; a database analyst in the financial sector; and Chief Financial Officer for a development firm. Shimira has also held fellowships with the Office of Child Development and Early Learning of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and The Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning & Children’s Media at Saint Vincent College.


Laura Zimmermann, PHD

Laura Zimmermann, PhD, is an IES Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Child’s Play, Learning, and Development Lab at the University of Delaware. Her work with Dr. Roberta Golinkoff and Dr. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek examines strategies to teach spatial skills to preschoolers in concrete and touchscreen puzzle formats as well as the relationship between spatial skills and later math readiness. Laura received her PhD in Psychology at Georgetown University with a concentration in Human Development and Public Policy where she studied how young children transfer learning from touchscreens and develop executive functioning skills. Professionally, she has consulted with organizations including PBS KIDS, New America Education, Joan Ganz Cooney Center, and Reflection Sciences.

check out what the tec team is reading to prep for tecplay and resources shared during the conference

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