Leadership Exchange
at ISTELive 21
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Edtech Advocacy &
Policy Summit

Early Learning Network Playground: Exploring Current Technologies and Practices

Location: Playground C, Level 1, outside W196

Explore and create

Explore and create : Playground

Tuesday, June 26, 9:30 am–1:00 pm
Location: Playground C, Level 1, outside W196

Sarah Allen   Jennifer Bowden   Gail Lovely   Wendy Oliver   Heidi Veal  
Gather with others to play with different technologies designed for young learners. This session has opportunities for thoughtful conversation and reflection about integrating technology in formal and informal early childhood settings with practitioners, award winners, and vendors.

Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices not needed
Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Early childhood/elementary
Grade level: PK-2
ISTE Standards: For Coaches:
Teaching, Learning and Assessments
  • Coach teachers in and model incorporation of research-based best practices in instructional design when planning technology-enhanced learning experiences.
For Educators:
  • Set professional learning goals to explore and apply pedagogical approaches made possible by technology and reflect on their effectiveness.
  • Design authentic learning activities that align with content area standards and use digital tools and resources to maximize active, deep learning.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

The Early Learning Network Playground is a space where educators can explore technologies designed for young children, while giving them an opportunity to engage in conversations with others and learn promising practices. Through conversations with educators, developers and other participants, attendees will learn more about the affordances and limitations of various tools and how they fit in early learning environments. In addition to open exploration and conversation, the playground will include presentations from educators and researchers about topics related to the use of technology in early childhood, including Kay Bitter award winners.


The playground will have multiple stations with different technologies. Through hands-on exploration and conversation, participants will learn more about the tools and be prompted with discussion by reflective questions. During the playground, there were be short presentations from researchers and practitioners who will share concepts, researchers, and/or examples from their practices. We will also have an app center set up where various people will present on an app for 10-15 minutes every ½ hour.

Supporting research

Bers, M. U. (2008). Blocks to robots: Learning with technology in the early childhood classroom. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
Alper, M. (2013). Developmentally appropriate New Media Literacies: Supporting cultural competencies and social skills in early childhood education. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 13(2), 175-196.
Donohue, C. (Ed.) (2015). Technology and digital media in the early years: Tools for teaching and learning. New York: Routledge & Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children
Marsh, J. (2006). Emergent media literacy: Digital animation in early childhood. Language and Education, 20(6), 493-506. Doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.2167/le660.0
Simon, F. & Nemeth, K. (2010). Digital decisions: Choosing the right technology tools for early childhood education. Lewisville, NC: Gryphon House, Inc.
Takeuchi, L. M., & Vaala, S. (2014). Level up learning: A national survey on teaching with digital games. New York: The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop.
Vasquez, V. M. & Felderman, C. B. (2013). Technology and critical literacy in early childhood. New York, NY: Routledge

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Sarah Allen, Indian Creek School
Jennifer Bowden, Goddard Systems, INC

Jennifer is Director of Training & Program Development at Goddard Systems, Inc., the franchisor of the Goddard Schools. She leads the training design processes across the system and the Educational Program team. She is also the in-house expert on recommending learning technologies. Jennifer has been a teacher of ECE and technology. She worked for November Learning as Director of the Building Learning Communities Conference for 5+ years and led the consulting and training for districts' 1:1 initiatives as the Mentoring Director. Jennifer is the president of ISTE’s Early Learning PLN.

Gail Lovely, Suddenly It Clicks!
Wendy Oliver, Kamehameha Schools

Wendy Oliver is a Senior Instructional Technology Specialist for Kamehameha Preschools in the state of Hawaii. She graduated with a BA in Geography from California State University Fullerton and earned her elementary teaching certifications in the states of California and Texas. She is a former second and third grade teacher and was a Technology Integration Coach in Dallas, Texas. She recently became a member of the Leadership Board for the ISTE Early Learning Professional Learning Network. Her interests include taking pictures, baking, sporting events, musicals and hiking.

Heidi Veal, Lewisville ISD

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