Tools of engagement Status report on technology in early childhood education

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Tools of engagement Status report on technology in early childhood education
Reprinted with permission from Exchange magazine, May/June 2011
Visit us at www.ChildCareExchange.com or call (800) 221-2864.
Multiple use copy agreement available for educators by request.

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Tools of engagement Status report on technology in early childhood education

  1. 1. 16 SOCIAL MEDIA EXCHANGE MAY/JUNE 201 1 Reprinted with permission from Exchange magazine. Visit us at www.ChildCareExchange.com or call (800) 221-2864. Multiple use copy agreement available for educators by request. Tools of engagement Status report on technology in early childhood education by Fran Simon and Chip Donohue We’ve got the whole world smartphones, and WiFi connections to digital tools to communicate, engage, in our hands the Internet. But it appears that early and connect with others (Donohue, 2010; childhood educators are slower to adopt Simon & Donohue, 2011). In fact, we In recent years, a tidal wave of mobile iPads and other tablets with multi-touch even use these tools to conduct virtual digital devices and applications (apps) screens, e-book readers, MP3 players, debates about and research their useful- has found its way into the daily lives of and gaming devices. Free Web 2.0 tools ness. Technology and media are rapidly early childhood professionals every- for communication and collaboration expanding the materials and experiences where. It is safe to say that the speed at like Google Docs and Skype, and social to which young children have access which new digital devices and apps get media tools like Facebook, Twitter, and in their homes and in their classrooms. into our hands will not slow down. YouTube have also been slowly adopted This unparalleled access is affecting the Our digital life is here to stay. even though these digital devices and ways in which young children interact apps have become ubiquitous in the with the world and others, influenc- Most of us don’t give a second thought personal and professional lives of ing the content and delivery methods to using ATM machines, digital millions of users around the world. In of teacher education and professional cameras, Flip videocams, cell phones, fact, a 2011 annual technology study development, and providing early child- for PBS (Grunwald, 2011) reports good hood professionals with new opportuni- news and bad — that Pre-K Teachers ties to connect with other professionals, Fran Simon has been a professional Early “trail K–12 teachers in their use of digital parents, and stakeholders from around Childhood educator and a passionate tech- nologist since 1981. Early in her career as a media and technology, but many see the world. multi-site child care administrator, she learned the benefits of age-appropriate digital that her ability to use technology to accomplish content and technology.” Interestingly, The push/pull of technology adoption is her goals was one of the most powerful skills in her administrative toolkit, so she set out to learn more and do the report also finds that overall Pre-K felt throughout the field. We’re not quite more to connect early childhood educators to technology. Fran teachers have wholeheartedly welcomed sure how to manage our desire to con- used those skills in her positions at Teaching Strategies, Inc., the and adopted the use of digital cameras tinue to connect with children and fami- National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agen- cies (NACCRRA), and as Vice President of the Technology and at a significantly higher rate than K-12 lies on a very personal ‘high-touch’ level Young Children Interest Forum of NAEYC. A frequent presenter at teachers, and they “consider digital and still take advantage of all that 21st national conferences, Fran is now the Chief Engagement Officer of Engagement Strategies, LLC, and the founder of Early Childhood cameras to be the most valuable instruc- century technology has to offer. Some Investigations Webinars, an ongoing series of free webinars for tional technology.” of us are convinced that the best way early education professionals. to ensure developmentally appropriate Chip Donohue, PhD, is the Director of Distance Finding our 21st century balance practice and deep personal relationships Learning at Erikson Institute in Chicago and a Senior Fellow of the Fred Rogers Center for is to avoid technology altogether. Others Early Learning and Children’s Media. He is Ironically, on one hand, the field contin- are tentatively exploring the integration a leader in the innovative use of technology ues to struggle with a low-tech/high- of technology into our daily administra- and distance learning methods to increase access, create pathways, enhance learning, touch sense of itself in a digital world, tive and classroom practices and think- and improve teaching practices in early childhood education. He while on the other hand we have already ing deeply about how to use technology spends lots of time playing with new technology tools to enable relationships and build learning communities online. begun to use many of these powerful intentionally and with clearly defined
  2. 2. SOCIAL MEDIA 17 MAY/JUNE 201 1 EXCHANGEobjectives. And, of course, other early tening to music; making reservations orchildhood educators are fearlessly devel- purchasing tickets; and playing games.oping and implementing technology intheir programs. Think about your own use of digitalUsing technology to devices and apps. How many of these activities are routine in your personal Focus oncommunicate and collaborate: life? How many of these techniques and tools do you use in you professional life? What MattersProbing the boundaries of What devices and apps do you use theengagement most? Do you use the same devices andIn this Exchange Status Report we look at apps to manage your program or con-current technology trends and promis- nect with colleagues, staff, and families?ing practices in the ways early child-hood professionals are using digital In 2011 and beyond, technology willtechnology to communicate, collaborate, continue to change how and where weconnect, and build professional commu- do our banking and pay our bills, findnities of interest and practice. Examples the price of an item or compare pricesof effective practice are identified and to other stores nearby, pay for thingsshared to improve how early child- at the store or from vending machines,hood professionals use these enabling check in for a flight, read books, watch Learn about effectivetechnologies and how they participate movies, access health records and health teacher-child interactionsin the social networks and communities care services, and locate friends nearby. using the CLASS lens. TMfound online. Innovative uses of technol- These are profound changes in our lives,ogy are identified to describe and define and more applications are introduced Looking at CLASSroomsthe current state of technology use and every day. But what is even more strik- • Online, pre-k professionalto highlight emerging technologies and ing is the impact of technology on the developmentapplications that will encourage and ways we connect with the other adults • Self-pacedenable early childhood professionals to in our professional lives — colleagues, clients, college students, families in our • Uses real classroom videocommunicate, collaborate, connect, andbuild communities in engaging and em- programs, staff members, board mem-powering ways. With powerful digital bers, legislators, policy makers, fundingtools in our hand it really is a “small and government agencies, vendors,world, after all.” and all of the others who revolve in our early childhood universe. How do weGazing into our virtual crystal ball effectively engage with others on behalf of children and families in a rapidlyBefore we can narrow our focus to how changing and increasingly wired world? visittechnology is impacting early childhood We early childhood educators often find teachstone.comprofessionals and the field, we need ourselves asking “How do Facebook,to make a few educated guesses about Twitter, YouTube, texting, and smart- for a free demowhere technology-enabled communica- phones apply to my work?” or to enrolltion and engagement is headed in this,the second decade of the 21st century. Our ‘small world’ trends Show. Empower.According to the Pew Internet and Here are six important trends and a few Improve.American Life Project (Zickuhr, 2010), predictions about the tools of engage-we use our digital devices and apps for ment we’ll be using most often anda number of activities including: sending more effectively and the implications forand receiving email; searching for infor- early childhood educators:mation on the Internet; social network-ing; getting the news and reading blogs; 1. Smartphones will become thebuying products; watching videos; lis- essential tools for Internet access and
  3. 3. 18 SOCIAL MEDIA EXCHANGE MAY/JUNE 201 1 the hub of your digital life. An ultra- and strategies and solving problems will tion and accessibility on both ends of the mobile device with wireless access become easier, more broadly collabora- call. puts your desktop and the Internet in tive, and more timely. Will we abandon your pocket. Smartphone cameras will face-to-face meetings and conferences? 5. Multi-touch screens and devices like continue to take over from digital point- Will we no longer talk to one another? the iPad, the digital game-changers in and-shoot cameras. Applications on your No! But we will have more options than 2010, will continue to amaze. They offer mobile devices will replace software on ever to engage with one another. a new, more intuitive user interface with your computer. Your software and hard exciting implications for how we access drive will be replaced by ‘cloud comput- 3. Digital multi-tasking will be easy and use information, entertainment, ing’ that you can use on your laptop, when everything is at your fingertips. and educational media and open new tablet, or Smartphone from anywhere, You will continue to find it easier and opportunities for children to interact any time. Your personal and business faster to check your email, listen to with technology alone and with others. email, networking, and application ac- music, post a message on Facebook, In fact, iPads and similar tablet devices counts will always be on and equally search the Internet, and get news offer the most potential for use in both accessible in the palm of your hand. updates all at the same time. the back office and the classroom. Social media combined with handheld devices allow you to broadcast informa- But being able to multi-task may also The mobility, affordability, ‘always on’ tion instantly and widely. cause some early childhood professionals connectivity and rapid development of to want and need some digital downtime applications that offer ever-increasing Having tools that are always on and now and then when they can take a break levels of interactivity may perhaps be that blur the lines between personal from all the digital input and demands. THE development that causes our field and professional communication will to sit up and take notice of the 21st change work/life for early educators, Certainly we will all need to develop pro- century. The “Deepening Connections” creating new opportunities and chal- gram policies and procedures that guide technology study (Grunwald, 2011) lenges. Instant access to the Internet and appropriate technology use, especially reports that K-12 teachers, much more applications will provide early childhood in the classroom where the focus must so than preschool teachers, view laptops, educators with robust tools that make always be on the children. The onus is on mobile tables or book readers (iPad, work better, faster, and deeper, as well us to develop responsive and empow- Kindle, etc.), and iPod Touch, iPod, and as powerful distractions that force us to ering policies that help us harness the MP3 players as the portable technolo- focus on priorities. power at our fingertips, adding powerful gies with the greatest potential. And tools to our toolkits. There are many ex- indeed, they are. 2. ‘Always on’ connections will force us cellent resources for developing technol- to continue to seek a balance between ogy policies, but the unique challenges The keys to success for use of iPads and becoming immersed in a digital world in the early childhood ecosystem require similar devices will be: and needing face-to-face ‘real’ inter- that we integrate guiding principles of actions with others. We will grapple with the NAEYC Code of Ethics, the NAEYC n Assessing apps and websites with finding ways to balance our traditional Position Statement on Technology and tools that integrate understanding of high-touch approach with the high-tech Young Children, and other guidance for best practice in early childhood and realities with which we are faced in the best practice and ethical conduct into our making purchasing decisions based 21st century. policies. on these assessments. n Becoming involved in the develop- For better or for worse, we will be in- 4. Video calling will be freely available ment of new apps and insisting that stantly available to the adult stakeholders on multiple devices and offer an effective developers create apps that encourage in our programs. Parents of children in way to communicate and connect with divergent and creative thinking and our programs, students in colleges and family, friends, and colleagues near and deep problem-solving. universities, board members, colleagues, far. n Helping parents make wise choices legislators, funders, regulatory agencies, about the time children spend using and staff members will all be instantly Video calling can be a powerful tool for these devices and apps, and about available to us and we will be instantly real-time coaching and mentoring, confer- how to select apps wisely. available to them. All of the reporting ences, connecting children to parents, and n Developing policies that empower we do in our various early childhood a myriad of other uses that can transform and govern, but don’t impede the use roles will be in real time. Sharing ideas our field. The only limit is your imagina- of these technologies.
  4. 4. SOCIAL MEDIA 19 MAY/JUNE 201 1 EXCHANGE6. Social media can change the world. .............connect .............build.............join .............create .............reconnect .............connect .............build.............As recent events around the worldhave demonstrated, the power of socialmedia to rally people to a cause, toengage them in a dialogue about issues,to advocate for causes, and to take astand for a shared belief guarantees that2011 will continue to see the expansionand improvement of social media toolsincluding Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn,YouTube, and others. Social media toolswill continue to integrate into webbrowsers, our accounts will be connect- Turn the Space You Haveed to each other across platforms, and into the Space You Wantour always-in-the-palm-of our-hands Introducing KYDZSuite™, the modulartechnology will make our small worldeven smaller, more immediate, and more system that lets you make the most of anyinterconnected. Geolocation is becoming Contact us! space. Built to last, eco-friendly, and affordable,ever more embedded in social media 800.543.4149 // kydzsuite.com KYDZSuite is completely customizable andtools, and mass texting tools are being sales@jonti-craft.com allows your space to change, evolve, anddeployed. grow—just like your kids. 2011 Jonti-Craft, Inc. ©It might be difficult to fathom how thetool we use to connect with friends andupdate them on our lives can be useful 456-007_475x425thirdPGad_FNL.indd 1 2/3/11 3:27 PMin early education. After all, we’re notgoing to put young children on Face- Top Sites for Technology Trend Watchingbook! But, these tools have enormous n Jane Hart and the Center for Learning and Performance Technologies:(and somewhat under-realized) poten- www.c4lpt.co.uk/tial for early childhood professionals. • Top 100 articles of 2010:If the only positive things that could www.c4lpt.co.uk/ReadingLists/2010review.htmlbe said about social media is that it is • Top 100 Tools for Learning 2010:a great way to learn more about new www.c4lpt.co.uk/recommended/top100-2010.htmlresources, ideas, and trends in real time, • Top 100 Tools for Learning 2011 Emerging List:connect with colleagues to share ideas, www.c4lpt.co.uk/recommended/2011.htmland deliver professional development,that would be a lot in and of itself. But n Learning Tools Directory 2011:there is so much more inherent value to http://janeknight.typepad.com/pick/2011/02/learning-tools-directory-2011.social media in early childhood. In fact, htmlthere’s a dotted line from eCommunica- n JWT Intelligence:tion to early childhood. www.slideshare.net/jwtintelligence/2f-100-things-to-watch-in-2011-6306251According to the most recent report n The Horizon Report 2011:from the Pew Internet and American http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/HR2011.pdfLife Project on social engagement, n Mashable On Education: http://mashable.com/?s=education“Technology use has become deeplyembedded in group life and is affect- n Nielsen Wire: http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/ing the way civic and social groups n Pew Internet & American Life Project: www.pewinternet.org/behave and the way they impact theircommunities” (Rainie, Purcell, & Smith, n Techcruch: http://techcrunch.com/2011). The report indicates that 75% of n SmartBrief on Edtech: www.smartbrief.com/edtech/Americans are active members of groups
  5. 5. 20 SOCIAL MEDIA EXCHANGE MAY/JUNE 201 1 of some kind and finds higher levels in every role in the early childhood of engagement amongst Internet us- ecosystem will be touched by the ers, especially those who engage in deluge of technology innovations in group membership online. The report 2011 and beyond. You are not exempt. indicates that Internet users are more We will all be impacted in ways that active participants in their groups can be extremely helpful, distracting, or than other adults, and are more likely potentially harmful. It is critical that we than non-Internet users to feel pride are informed and empowered in order and a sense of accomplishment. In to exploit the best aspects of technol- fact, results show that Internet group ogy and defend against those that are members were more likely to attend a potentially detrimental. meeting or event, volunteer, contrib- ute, or take a leadership role in the A few keys to making our organization. In short, they are more small world work in the engaged and invested in the groups palms of our hands in which they are members. So who are our ECE ‘groups’? Our groups are Here are a few very broad suggestions our target audiences: Parents, adult to help make this speed-of-light techno- learners, college students, colleagues, revolution work in early childhood: staff members, legislators, policymak- ers, board members, and more. These n Even if you are resistant, open your are the people with whom we want to mind to the possibilities. engage, right? n Form ‘playgroups’ within your orga- nization to explore the tools that you There’s our dotted line. . . . Attending see offering the most inherent value meetings, contributing, volunteer- in your organization or program. Just ing, and taking leadership roles are focus on those tools to start. the very results we need from our n Develop technology policies that ‘group members’ in early childhood. say “Yes, you can, and here’s how,” The results are the heart of engage- rather than, “Don’t do this and don’t ment, which we often find elusive in do that.” early childhood programs, college and n Use available tools for assessing professional development classrooms, technology use and evaluate and professional communities of prac- revise every six months. tice, action groups, and amongst our n Provide technology training for your clients. Have we found a magic bullet? staff, but remember all technology No. But we may have discovered training is not the same. Training on that these new tools have enormous email is vastly different from training potential to make involvement in early on app implementation in the class- childhood easier, deeper, and more room. You can’t mark ‘technology practical for generations to come. training’ off your to-do-list unless it’s training on the very specific imple- So what does this have to do mentation you want to see in your with me? organization. How will all of this innovation impact your work? Regardless of whether “Use the tools to figure out your daily work is in the classroom, how to use the tools.” the back office, the boardroom, the Don Marinelli, Executive Producer, conference room, or the offices of Entertainment Technology Center, policymakers and funders, the impli- Carnegie Mellon University cations are profound. Every person
  6. 6. SOCIAL MEDIA 21 MAY/JUNE 201 1 EXCHANGEHere are a few of our favorite examples Where to from here? for connecting early childhood professionals,of proven strategies and promising prac- tools for managing early childhood programs,tices used by early childhood profes- In the months ahead we will return to these the role of technology in early childhoodsionals and organizations that are mak- technology trends, themes, and issues with teacher education and professional develop-ing the most of the digital possibilities. articles focusing on new technology tools ment, and technology with young children. Using Technology for Communicating, Collaborating, Connecting, and Community Building Will digital devices and apps continue to have a powerful influence on our ability to communicate, collaborate, connect, and build community? When we shake the virtual eight ball, “All signs point to yes.” Organization Website Technology Tools Effective Practices Bam! Radio Network www.bamradionetwork.com/ Podcasts; forums; social media Brief information-packed radio interviews with including Facebook, Twitter, and panels of thought-leaders and authors on topics LinkedIn; Channels for organizations of importance to parents, educators, and leaders. include NAEYC, NHSA, NACCP, Uses social media sites to spur conversation and NAFCC, NACCRRA, and more encourage shared meaning on relevant topics. Children’s Defense Fund www.ChildrensDefenseFund.org Social media including Facebook, Advocacy and public policy programs and Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr, and YouTube; campaigns. Research, reports, data, and resources Multimedia; CDF Data; Email alerts; for advocates and policymakers. Social media newsletter; CDF in the News and marketing, outreach, fundraising, and advocacy. News on Children’s Issues; Take Action; Donate Now ECEWebinars.org www.ECEwebinars.com Webinars; blogs; social media Provides free webinars delivered by thought-leaders including Facebook, Twitter, and to early childhood educators and posts issue- LinkedIn; SlideShare; RSS feeds; centric topical information on Twitter, Facebook, blogs; email updates; and news YouTube, SlideShare, and LinkedIn. MomsRising www.momsrising.org Social media including Facebook, A leader in online membership building for MySpace, Twitter, and YouTube; advocacy and public policy. Focuses on issues RSS feeds; email alerts; blogs; and related to women and families and has a strong fundraising early education program. Blogs, email, and social media are the primary tools used to recruit, connect, and activate members. NACCRRA www.naccrra.org NACCRRA Radio; Online Parent Child Care Aware Parent Network, Child Care Aware Network; Early Childhood Focus (online resource and referral), use of social media email news alerts; social media tools for advocacy and public policy, email alerts on including Facebook, Twitter, and hot topics, donations, and eLearning for child care YouTube; eLearning; Donate Now paraprofessional training. NAEYC www.naeyc.org NAEYC Radio; social media including NAEYC uses social media to connect members, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and advocacy, collaboration, information sharing, LinkedIn; eNews; video streaming; online Q&A with national authors and researchers, podcasts; online store; chats; web- web-based training and accreditation systems, based systems; distance learning; online publications, resources, and membership, membership; Donate Now donations. World Forum Foundation www.worldforumfoundation.org Facebook; World Forum Radio pod- Connects and sustains the World Forum community casts; blogs; email distribution lists; by encouraging and enabling communication and World Forum at Work newsletter; collaboration at a distance. Builds leadership ecelearn Learning Management capacity. Highlights activities and initiatives. System; audio and video clips; Supports projects and programs including Global Online conference information, Leaders, Nature Action Collaboration for Children, registration, and resources for Men in Early Care and others. Organizes presenters delegates and topics and builds the program.
  7. 7. 22 SOCIAL MEDIA EXCHANGE MAY/JUNE 201 1 World Forum Community taking part in new social networking initiatives 2011 World Forum in Honolulu Global Leaders Online — 50 emerging leaders from Asia, Africa, the Arab region, the Caribbean, and North America will begin their two-year Global Leaders training program. While they will participate in two face-to-face meetings, much of their training, mentoring, and networking will take place online using the learning management system, ecelearn, developed by New Zealand Tertiary College. During the coming year, all World Forum Working Groups will be connected using this platform. Video Clips Galore — Four video teams will be hard at work capturing the voices and stories of the 2011 World Forum to share on www.WorldForumFoundation.org with the entire World Forum community. Techno at WoFo — Attendees at the 2011 World Forum will be invited to share their stories and offer their feedback instantly using Twitter and Facebook. World Forum registrants — stay tuned for instructions on how to prepare to participate. Technology will stimulate and extend the discussions and work of the World Forum. References Donohue, C. (2010, May). What’s in www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2011/ your toolbox? New technology tools for The-Social-Side-of-the-Internet.aspx Donohue, C. (2010, September). There’s early childhood professionals — Part 1. an app for (almost) everything: New Exchange, 193, 74-80. Simon, F., & Donohue, C. (2011, Janu- technology tools for early childhood ary). What’s your social media personal- professionals — Part 2. Exchange, 195, Grunwald Associates. (2011, January) ity? How it helps or hinders networking 78-82. Deepening connections. Washington, implementation and success. Exchange, DC: PBS. Re- 197, 8-13. trieved January 29, 2011 from Wartella, E., Schomburg, R., Lauricella, Zachary’s and Caroline’s Corner www.pbs. A., Robb, M., & Flynn, R. (2010). org/teachers/ Technology in the lives of teachers and grunwald/pbs- classrooms: Survey of early childhood grunwald-2010. and child care providers. Latrobe, PA: pdf Fred Rogers Center for Early Learn- ing and Children’s Media. Retrieved Raine, L., November 10, 2010 from www. Purcell, K., fredrogerscenter.org/media/resources/ & Smith, A. TechInTheLivesofTeachers.pdf (2011). The social side of Zickuhr, K. (2010, December 16). the internet. Generations 2010: Trends in online Pew Internet activities. Heat map: Change in activity & American over time, by generation. Pew Internet & Life Project. American Life Project. Retrieved January Retrieved 10, 2011 from www.pewinternet.org/ February 18, Infographics/2010/Generations-2010- 2011 from Heat-Map.aspx

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