Media Literacy in Early Childhood: A Critical Conversation

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The Technology in Early Childhood (TEC) Center at Erikson Institute, in partnership with The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE), is hosting a one-day pre-conference symposium, Media Literacy in Early Childhood: A Critical Conversation on June 26, 2017, prior to NAMLE’s 2017 conference. The day will focus on why media literacy is a critical habit of mind and the set of skills for young children growing in the digital age.

Guided by the TEC Center’s director, Chip Donohue, Ph.D., and associate director, Tamara Kaldor, the symposium will include an engaging mix of short talks, interactive panels, group discussions, working groups, critique and reflection, and a bit of fun. Space is limited, and the number of presenters is being kept small to ensure opportunities for dialog, critical thinking, information sharing, idea exchanges, the highlighting of success stories, and problem-solving. The goal is to produce actionable steps for expanding the conversation and extending our impact and influence beyond the day. Because the symposium is organized as a group conversation, it is critical for all attendees to review materials and resources beforehand and be active participants during the event and in the long term. Please keep scrolling to see the agenda and our speaker’s bios. Email us for more information on how to be a part of this important conversation.

Suggested read, watch, and listen resources from the TEC Center team and participants can be found on our Padlet before you arrive so you can fully participate in the day’s conversations. We encourage you to share your own resources for everyone to access.

Start with Faith Rogow, PhD’s chapter, Media Literacy in Early Childhood Education: Inquiry-based Technology Integration found inTechnology and Digital Media in the Early Years: Tools for Teaching and Learning, Edited by Chip Donohue, PhD (2015) .

8:30-9:00 Registration and Breakfast
9:00-9:20 Welcome to Erikson Institute

Geoff Nagle, Ph.D., Erikson Institute
Michelle Ciulla Lipkin, NAMLE
Tony Streit, NAMLE
Tamara Kaldor, Erikson Institute

9:25-10:00 What is Media Literacy in Early Childhood: A Conversation with Children

David Kleeman, Dubit
Mari Copeny, @LittleMissFlint

10:00-10:30 Why is Media Literacy Important in Early Childhood?

Facilitator: Chip Donohue, Ph.D.,  Erikson Institute
Claudia Haines, Homer Public Library
Brigid Barron, Ph.D., Stanford University
Dan Noyes, Tech Goes Home
Sabrina Burroughs, Eagle Academy Public Charter School

10:30-10:35  Introduction to Working Groups
10:35- 10:45 Coffee Break
10:50-11:30 Working Groups: 5 Essential Skills for Media Literacy

Tamara Kaldor

Working Group Leaders

Parents and Families: Maria Alvarez, Common Sense Media
Informal Learning: Jennifer Farrington, Association of Children’s Museum and Chicago Children’s Museum
Media Creators: Warren Buckleitner, Ph.D., Children’s Technology Review
Policy: Michael Levine, Ph.D.,  Joan Ganz Cooney Center
Educators: Cyndy Scheibe, Ph.D.,  Project Look Sharp
Teacher Educators: Ed Greene, Ph.D., HITN
Research: Ellen Wartella, Ph.D., Northwestern University

11:30-12:00 Report Back

Tamara Kaldor
Sherri Hope Culver, NAMLE and Temple University

12:00-1:00 LUNCH
1:00-1:30 Reflections and Visions

Faith Rogow, Ph.D, Insighters Education of Consulting

1:30-2:15 Media Literacy in the Community and at Home: How do we empower children and their parents to tell their story?

Facilitator: Rick Fernandes, Fred Rogers Center
Jim Gray, Ed.D., Sesame Workshop
Michael Rich, MD, Center on Media and Child Health
Shimira Williams, TEKStart and #DiversityInApps
Kara Flack, VocalId and CTD

2:15-2:30 Coffee Break
2:30-3:15 Working Groups: Teaching 5 Essential Skills to Media Mentors

Working Group Leaders

Parents and Families: Maria Alvarez, Common Sense Media
Informal Learning:
Jennifer Farrington, Association of Children’s Museum and Chicago Children’s Museum
Media Creators: 
Warren Buckleitner, Ph.D., Children’s Technology Review
Michael Levine, Ph.D., Joan Ganz Cooney Center
Cyndy Scheibe, Ph.D., Project Look Sharp
Teacher Educators: 
Ed Greene, Ph.D., HITN
Ellen Wartella, Ph.D., Northwestern University

3:15-3:45 Report Back

Tamara Kaldor
Lisa Guernsey, New America

3:45-4:00 Wrap-up and Next Action Steps

Chip Donohue, Ph.D.
Tamara Kaldor

This agenda is for Media Literacy in Early Childhood: A Critical Conversation on June 26, 2017 at Erikson Institute with The Technology in Early Childhood (TEC) Center, in partnership with The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE). The times, content, and speakers are tentative and subject to change.

We encourage you to join us for a reception with NAMLE afterwards.

Location: Roosevelt University’s Auditorium Building, 430 S Michigan Ave Chicago, IL 60605

4:30 Registration Opens

Registration is in Fainman Lounge on the 2nd floor. Guests must check in before attending the reception.

5:00-6:00 Opening Reception

Reception is located on the 7th floor at Ganz Hall. Appetizers and drinks will be provided.

6:30-8:30 From the Screen to the Streets: Media Makers & Democracy

A screening of work by artists and filmmakers who use media to advocate for civic participation and social action. Participants include: Participant Media, Vulcan Productions, Kartemquin Films, ITVS, The Representation Project and Free Spirit Media.



Maria Alvarez

Maria Alvarez is the Director of Latino Content & Outreach at Common Sense Media. Her Latino-focused parent advice has been featured on ¡Despierta América!, Noticias Telemundo, and CNN en Español and published in La Opinión, El Mensajero, and La Raza, among many other outlets. She has produced dozens of articles and features on that provide Latino parents with simple, actionable advice to help them learn how to choose and use media and technology wisely. Prior to working at Common Sense, Maria was a television executive producer and reporter in Venezuela, Honduras, and Chile for CNN en Español, Univision, Telemundo, and the Associated Press.


Brigid Barron, Ph.D.

Brigid Barron, Ph.D., is a Professor of Education and the Learning Sciences at Stanford’s Graduate School of Education. Her research investigates how digital technologies can serve as catalysts for collaborative learning at home, school, and in the community with the goal of creating more equitable opportunities for the development of expertise and interest-driven learning. Current projects use a biographical unit of analyses to articulate relationships between the development of interests, learner pathways to expertise, personal social networks, and designed settings for learning. She is founder of The YouthLAB at Stanford, and a co-lead of the TELOS Initiative (Technology for Equity in Learning Opportunities).


Warren Buckleneiter, Ph.D.

Warren Buckleitner, Ph.D., is the founding editor of Children’s Technology Review ( He speaks at education and library conferences, and contributes content books and publications, including a decade of children’s tech coverage for the New York Times. He holds a doctorate in educational psychology from Michigan State University.  He coordinates the KAPi prize at CES and the BolognaRagazzi Digital Prize at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. In 2000, he started Dust or Magic ( and the Mediatech Foundation (, a non-profit community technology center in his town’s library where he serves as a Trustee.


Sabrina Burroughs

Sabrina Burroughs is an early childhood educator at Eagle Academy Public School located in Washington D.C.  Sabrina holds a Master’s degree in Education with a focus on Curriculum and Instruction, as well as an undergraduate degree in Computer Information Systems. She has recently completed her first year as a TEC Mentor through Erikson Institute. As a mentor, she provides direct support to students and teachers using technology, while providing learning opportunities in the both in classroom and in professional learning communities. This technology effort incorporates across platforms, genres and subject matter with direct links to the International Society for Technology in Education.


Photo courtesy of

Mari Copeny

Mari Copeny, better known as Little Miss Flint, is a Flint, MI native, young activist, and Youth Ambassador for the Women’s March. Last year, she convinced former President Barak Obama to visit her hometown, Flint, MI. Mari uses social media to raise awareness about the Flint Water Crisis and many other social justice issues.

Chip Donohue, Ph.D.

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.


Jennifer Farrington

Jennifer Farrington is the President and CEO of Chicago Children’s Museum. Farrington and her staff reach more than 400,000 children annually through a variety of exhibits, programs, and partnerships. Farrington has positioned the museum as a national leader in child development and play-based learning, and as a fierce advocate for all children to have access to high quality museum experiences. Farrington is the current Chair of the Board of Directors of the Association of Children’s Museums, as well as a Board member of Illinois Action for Children, a Board member of the Lutz Family Center, and an Advisory Board member of After School Matters.


Rick Fernandes

Rick Fernandes is the Executive Director of the Fred Rogers Center, where he is responsible for strategic partnerships, program development, and outreach and communications. He has been involved in children’s television for 30 years where he has worked on shows including Blue’s Room, Between the Lions, Out of the Box, Bear in the Big Blue House, and Reading Rainbow. Rick’s achievements include 11 Emmy nominations covering five different children’s series for PBS, Disney Channel and Nickelodeon, and one Emmy win for directing Disney Channel’s Bear in the Big Blue House.


Kara Flack

Kara Flack consults as an Assistive Technology and Early Childhood Specialist and serves on the faculty board for the Center on Technology and Disability. Kara is an advocate for parents to promote the use of Assistive Technology as early as possible. She is currently working on the “Let’s Participate” pilot project being implemented in Massachusetts. The project supports Early Intervention service providers in the selection and use of Assistive Technology and including AT as part of a child’s IFSP. Kara also heads customer acquisition and product awareness efforts at VocaliD.


Jim Gray, Ed.D.

Jim Gray, Ed.D., is the Vice President of Learning Design at Sesame Workshop, where he is responsible for the educational quality of digital interactive media. Dr. Gray was involved in the evaluation and learning design of mobile apps, and provided consulting services for educational media companies like DreamBox Learning, Toca Boca, StoryBots, Kidaptive, and Disney Imagicademy. Dr. Gray is a thought leader in the field of kids’ media, with invited presentations and publication to general and industry audiences such as Sandbox Summit, Dust or Magic Institute, World Congress of Play. Dr. Gray holds a Doctorate of Education from Harvard University.


Ed Greene, Ph.D.

Ed Greene, Ph.D., serves as the project’s Senior Director for Educational Outreach and Partnerships at the Hispanic Information Television Network (HITN), facilitating communication, capacity building, and strategic approaches to program implementation.  Over his forty- year career, Dr. Greene has worked directly with infants, toddlers, preschool children, adolescents, and families, as well as in a variety of roles and capacities in the philanthropic, private, the public sectors and higher education. Dr. Greene holds a Ph.D. in Elementary and Early Childhood Education at Indiana State University.


Lisa Guernsey

Lisa Guernsey is deputy director of the Education Policy program and director of the Learning Technologies Project at New America. She leads teams of writers and analysts to tell stories, translate research, examine policies, and generate ideas for new approaches to help disadvantaged students succeed. Prior to New America, Guernsey worked as a staff writer at The New York Times and The Chronicle of Higher Education. She is co-author with Michael H. Levine of Tap, Click, Read: Growing Readers in a World of Screens (Jossey-Bass, 2015) and author of Screen Time: How Electronic Media – From Baby Videos to Educational Software – Affects Your Young Child (Basic Books, 2012).


Claudia Haines

Claudia Haines is a Youth Services Librarian at Homer Public Library in Alaska, where she leads dynamic storytimes, hosts innovative, out-of-school learning programs, and gets great media of all kinds into the hands of kids and teens. Claudia also trains other librarians as media mentors and serves on both local and national communities that support families and literacy, including the 2018 Caldecott Award Selection Committee. She is the co-author of ALSC’s white paper on media mentorship and the book, Becoming a Media Mentor: Working with Children and Families (ALA Editions, 2016).


Sherri Hope Culver

Sherri Hope Culver serves as Director of the Center for Media and Information Literacy (CMIL) at Temple University where she is an Associate Professor in the Klein College of Media and Communication. Sherri is a 3-term past president of the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) and currently serves on the board of directors. She regularly consults with children’s media companies, including Sprout, YouTube Kids, WGBH and Nickelodeon. Sherri worked in the media business as a producer and public television executive for over 25 years.


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, a strategy and research consultancy and digital studio based in Leeds, England.  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, a creative professional development center. He has given conference talks or seminars on six continents. He writes extensively for trade and general press, including frequent commentaries for the Huffington Post and Kidscreen.


Michael Levine, Ph.D.

Michael Levine, Ph.D., is the founding executive director of the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop. Dr. Levine also serves on the executive team at Sesame Workshop where he focuses on educational impact and philanthropic partnerships for the global non-profit. Dr. Levine is a Pahara-Aspen Education Reform Fellow and a frequent adviser to the White House and the U.S. Department of Education. His new book, co-authored with Lisa Guernsey, is Tap, Click, Read: Growing Readers in a World of Screens. He received his Ph.D. in Social Policy from Brandeis University.


Dan Noyes

Dan Noyes is the Co-CEO and Chief Wrangler at Tech Goes Home, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower vulnerable communities to access and use digital tools to overcome barriers and advance their lives. Dan has been involved with TGH since 2002 and on staff since the summer of 2010. After spending several years as a Legislative Aide to a U.S. Congressman in Washington DC, he returned to Boston as the Technology Director at Fenway High School. In 2006, he was hired by the Lilla G. Fredrick Pilot Middle School in Dorchester to help implement the largest middle school 1:1 laptop initiative in New England.


Michael Rich, MD

Michael Rich, MD, is Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, Associate Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard School of Public Health, and practices Adolescent Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital. He is the Founder and Director of the Center on Media and Child Health (CMCH) as well as a pediatrician, researcher, father, and media aficionado. As The Mediatrician®, Dr. Rich offers research-based answers parents’, teachers’, and clinicians’ questions about children’s media use and implications for their health and development. Dr. Rich received his M.D. from Harvard Medical School.


Faith Rogow, Ph.D.

Faith Rogow, Ph.D., was the founding president of the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE), a founding advisor of Project Look Sharp, and a founding editorial board member of the Journal for Media Literacy Education. In 1996, she created Insighters Educational Consulting to “help people learn from media and one another.” She has taught thousands of educators, child care professionals, media professionals, and parents to understand and harness the power of media. She has created educational outreach materials for projects ranging from Sesame Street and Sid the Science Kid to hundreds of independent films. She received her Ph.D. in History from Binghamton University.


Cyndy Scheibe, Ph.D.

Cyndy Scheibe, Ph.D., is the founder and executive director of Project Look Sharp, a media literacy initiative that provides support, materials and training for the integration of media literacy across curriculum in K-12 and post-secondary education. She is a professor at Ithaca College, where she’s been teaching since 1986. Dr. Scheibe was a founding board member of the National Association for Media Literacy Education. She, along with Dr. John Condry established the Center for Research on the Effects of Television (CRETV) in 1983. The CRETV archive is one of the largest archives of television content in the U.S.


Ellen Wartella, Ph.D.

Ellen Wartella, Ph.D., is the Sheik Harmad bin Khalifa Al-Thani Professor of Communication and Director of the Center on Media and Human Development at Northwestern University. Dr. Wartella currently serves on the Board of the World Summit Foundation, The Public Good Projects, and the Council on Contemporary Families.  She is a Trustee of Sesame Workshop and serves on the PBS Kids Advisory Board.  She is a member of the Academic Advisory Board of the Children’s Advertising Review Unit of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. Dr. Wartella holds her Ph.D. in Mass Communication from the University of Minnesota.


Shimira Williams

Shimira Williams is an Integration Specialist at TEKStart and a Digital Strategist at Urban Innocation21, where she adapts and enhances technical processes in organizations’ and entrepreneurs’ operations. She creates and delivers professional development to early child care providers on integrating technology into their learning environments. In August 2015, Shimira was named the first-Pittsburgh based Community Fellow at The Fred Rogers Center. Previously, Shimira was employed as a Database Analyst in the financial sector and Chief Financial Officer for a local development firm.

Email us for more information on how to be a part of this important conversation.


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