ISTE20Creative Constructor
Lab Virtual
Leadership Summit
Edtech Advocacy &
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Early Tech for Children Ages 3-7

Explore and create
Pre-registration required

Explore and create : Workshop

Saturday, June 22, 12:30–3:30 pm
Location: 115C

Sarah Allen   Jennifer Bowden   Gail Lovely  
This practical, hands-on workshop is a friendly, collaborative environment that leads to the development of skills, strategies and materials supporting the developmentally appropriate use of technologies with learners ages 3-7. Coding, computational thinking, and digital and traditional literacies will be the focus. Practical and inspiring, Join Us!

Audience: Teachers, Technology coordinators/facilitators, Library media specialists
Skill level: Intermediate
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Windows, Android, iOS
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Please come prepared to connect to online resources via wifi.

A good QR Code scanner is needed, we suggest

Wear comfortable clothing for playing with tech on the floor.

Bring ideas, questions, and a playful learning attitude for a fun learning adventure!

Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Early childhood/elementary
Grade level: PK-2
Subject area: Language arts, STEM/STEAM
ISTE Standards: For Students:
Computational Thinker
  • Students break problems into component parts, extract key information, and develop descriptive models to understand complex systems or facilitate problem-solving.
Empowered Learner
  • Students articulate and set personal learning goals, develop strategies leveraging technology to achieve them and reflect on the learning process itself to improve learning outcomes.
For Educators:
  • Design authentic learning activities that align with content area standards and use digital tools and resources to maximize active, deep learning.
Additional detail: ISTE author presentation

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Young learners are not just big learners in small bodies. They come to us with wildly different strengths and needs. The technologies and pedagogies which support learning with/for/by young learners may be different than those with learners in other ages and stages. This workshop is designed for, and will be facilitated specifically for, educators who are interested in best practices, important considerations, developmentally appropriate tools and furthering their own journey to serving our youngest learners to the very best of their abilities.

Computational thinking, coding, and implementing technologies within the framework of early learning settings will be the focus of this half-day workshop/pre-conference. Together we will explore the possibilities that robots, tangible tech and apps can bring to learners and teachers of children ages 3 to 7 as well as improving the intentional integration of computational thinking and coding in learning.

Educators with lots of technology and those with little can all benefit from the unplugged, screen-free activities, resources and strategies we will experience during this session and beyond. As the activities unfold participants will begin to develop a plan for their next steps on their technology journey in their teaching/learning settings. By the end of the workshop, participants in small groups or independently will have created a “next step” and an artifact of learning they will share via an online tool (Padlet). This sharing is an important part of building a community of support moving forward.

We strongly believe that the best learning happens while playing, collaborating, and putting oneself in the shoes of a young learner. This session will utilize some early learning structures and materials to encourage participants to develop their understanding of the developmental needs of young learners while remaining in touch with their own inner playful side. We intend to extend the learning and community beyond this workshop through a meet-up during the ISTE Conference as well as through online resources and sharing on Facebook and in our Padlet.


A brief outline:

1. Welcome, sharing and an activity together (10 minutes)

2. Philosophical Underpinnings and Assumptions (Papert, Bers, and others and what we know about little learners and tech) (15 minutes)

3. Computational Thinking and PreCoding (examples, standards, hands-on experiences with a variety of formats and activities) (40 minutes)

4. Coding - unplugged and plugged-in (hands-on experiences, instructional considerations, research which supports these) (45 minutes)

5. Integrating technologies into educational settings - other tools including QR Codes, creativity tools, independent learning experiences, centers with an emphasis on literacy (40 minutes)

6. Participants share their own "next steps" for learning (20 minutes)

7. Conclusion and Closing Remarks and Call to Action for the Conference (10 minutes)

Supporting research

Bers, M. U. (2008). Blocks to robots: Learning with technology in the early childhood classroom. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

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

Papert, Seymour. (1980). Mindstorms: Children, computers, and powerful ideas. New York: Basic Books.

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.

Wing, Jeannette M. (2006). Computational thinking. Communications of the ACM, 49(3), 33-35. from

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Sarah Allen, Indian Creek School
Jennifer Bowden, Goddard Systems, INC
Gail Lovely, Suddenly It Clicks!

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