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

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Join the Technology in Early Childhood (TEC) Center at Erikson Institute for a one-day symposium, TECPlay: How is children’s play impacted by technology? Erikson Institute Technology in Early Childhood Center Symposium on Friday, April 27, 2018, from 8:30 am – 3:30 pm.

We are thrilled to announce the keynote speaker is Lydia Plowman, PhD, 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.

Register here!

Who should attend?

• Formal and informal educators ($35)

• Policy and Researchers ($100)

• Technology and digital media developers ($200)

Join us for a day of conversations connecting the latest early childhood development and technology research to practice. CPDUs will be availableRegistration includes breakfast, lunch, and afternoon tea.


8:30-9:00 am Registration, Breakfast and TEC Playground
9:00-9:20 Opening conversations for the day

Chip Donohue, PhD, TEC Center, Erikson Institute
Tamara Kaldor, MS, TEC Center, Erikson Institute

9:20-10:30 Keynote and Ignite Conversation with Audience

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?

Moderator: Tamara Kaldor, MS, TEC Center, Erikson Institute

Panelists: Laura Zimmerman, PhD, Michael Blaustein and more to be announced…

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

Sara DeWitt, PBS Kids Digital

12:00-12:45 pm Lunch and TEC Playground
12:45-1:00 pm TECPlay participants ShareOut

Sara Dewitt, PBS Kids Digital

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

Moderator: Elizabeth Rood, EdD, Center for Childhood Creativity at the Bay Area Discovery Museum

Panelists: Silvia Lovato, Shimira Williams and more to be announced…

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

David Kleeman, Dubit

2:15-2:45 pm Digital Play Framework

Jo Bird, Australian Catholic University

Suzy Edwards, PhD Australian Catholic University

2:45-3:30 pm Questions and reflections

Lydia Plowman, PhD, Moray House of Education, University of Edinburgh

Chip Donohue, PhD, TEC Center, Erikson Institute


This agenda is for TECPlay: How is children’s play impacted by technology? at Erikson Institute with The Technology in Early Childhood (TEC) Center. The times, content, and speakers are tentative and subject to change.

Register here!



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.


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.


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.


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.


Keep checking back here for the agenda and full speaker list. Email us for more information on how to be a part of this important day of conversations.

Register Here!




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