Leadership in the Digital Age: Considering the 3C’s

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Jessica Cabeen, Principal of Woodson Kindergarten Center, shares how she has been impacted by the NAEYC/Fred Rogers Center’s joint position statement on Technology and Interactive Media as Tools in Early Childhood Program and the TEC Center as we both turn 5 this Fall. Principal Cabeen shares what she thinks about when working with her teachers to support young learners technology use in their all-day kindergarten programs.

Students working on coding through Beebot App. Photo Courtesy of Woodson Kindergarten Center.

One of the critical components of moving technology from a ‘nice’ experience to a ‘necessary’ part of the instructional day for our young learners was to provide teachers ways to access evidence-based practices and model examples of effective practice. Teachers are more willing to try something out of their comfort zone when presented with clear outcomes and frameworks that can guide how to deliver the instruction. A staple in my research was Technology and Digital Media in the Early Years. From this book, I continually utilize Lisa Guernsey’s framework regarding “The Three C’s”. Lisa identifies the following categories for ensuring technology is driving early learners from consumers to creators: Content, Context and the Individual Child. In Content, we consider questions like: How does this help children engage, express, imagine or explore? Context questions include: How does it complement (not interrupt) children’s natural play? And when thinking about the Individual Child: How do we choose the right tech tools? Now when planning lessons and including technology these three questions have helped us to balance incorporating technology as an extension or enhancement of learning vs a passive or less effective way to support all students in reaching learning targets.

How has the NAEYC/Fred Rogers Center’s joint position statement on Technology and Interactive Media as Tools in Early Childhood Programs has influenced your work?
As a “New to K” administrator the tools from NAEYC/Fred Rogers were instrumental in supporting my foundational understanding of the use of tech and digital tools in the early years. I was able to not only ground myself but staff and families in the importance of using technology with little learners and specific instances of successful implementation across the nation.

Students working on coding Beebot. Photo Courtesy of Woodson Kindergarten Center.

I have the Technology and Digital Media in the Early Yearsbook within arms reach on my desk and reference it frequently when other schools ask how to start embedding technology in a more seamless and strategic way in our youngest learners’ education.

How has the TEC Center at Erikson Institute influenced your work?

Thank you for your dedication to this critical work. Your research has supported practices that are benefiting students, families and staff on a daily basis and continue to elevate our instructional practices.

About Jessica Cabeen
Mrs. Jessica Cabeen is the Principal of Woodson, an all-day Kindergarten Center in Austin, Minnesota. She is a 2017 Minnesota National Distinguished Principal of the year, 2016 NAESP/VINCI Digital Leader of Early Learning and is a NAESP Digital Ambassador. She has facilitated the Minnesota P3 Leadership Academy as well the University of Minnesota Principal Academy. During her tenure at Woodson, she has supported the implementation of a Coding Club for kindergarten students and advocates for play-based learning for learners of all ages.

To learn more about the NAEYC/Fred Rogers Center’s joint position statement on Technology and Interactive Media as Tools in Early Childhood Programs and for more educator examples check out our 5th-anniversary celebration!

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