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Recess Time! Come Play in the Early Learning Playground

Explore and create

Explore and create : Playground

Saturday, December 5, 11:30 am–1:00 pm PST (Pacific Standard Time)

Andrea Alessio Robles  
Shelly Bautista  
Roshanna Beard  
Ben Cogswell  
Katie Gardner  
Regina Gonzalez de Cossio  
Dr. Kate Highfield  
Allison Leedie  
Gail Lovely  
Wendy Oliver  
Malia Ota  
Traci Piltz  
Casey Poe  
Judy Quintero  
Iris Randle  
Emily Relkin  
Faith Rogow  
Aimee Sawyer  
Amy Silverman  
Dr. Amanda Sullivan  
Analucia Tejada  
Nikki Vradenburg  
Kari Wardle  

We must prepare learners for the world they will experience in 2030 and beyond. Join members of the Early Learning Network to play with technologies being used with young learners today and explore the possibilities now and in the future. Play. Discuss. Imagine. … Their future starts in our classrooms now.

Audience: Coaches, Teachers, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Windows, Android, iOS
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Topic: Innovation in early childhood/elementary
Grade level: PK-2
Subject area: STEM/STEAM
ISTE Standards: For Coaches:
Teaching, Learning and Assessments
  • Coach teachers in and model design and implementation of technology-enhanced learning experiences addressing content standards and student technology standards.
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.
Additional detail: ISTE author presentation
Disclosure: The submitter of this session has been supported by a company whose product is being included in the session
Influencer Disclosure: This session includes a presenter that indicated a “material connection” to a brand that includes a personal, family or employment relationship, or a financial relationship. See individual speaker menu for disclosure information.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

The Early Learning Network Playground is THE place to explore technologies designed for young children by playing with them. As you explore and play, engage in conversations with others who are passionate about learners ages 3 - 8 and share promising practices. Through your conversations with educators, developers and other participants, you 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 others about topics related to the use of technology in early childhood.

The range of opportunities to learn and share in the playground are remarkable. There will also be some online tools for reflecting, sharing and imagining how the tools of today's early learning experiences may help to shape the Class of 2030 and beyond.

Tools, resources, products and practices around robotics, computational thinking, creativity, literacy, coding, STEM, and active learning will be represented, shared discussed and available for you to join in the learning and fun.


Through The playground will have multiple stations with different technologies and scenarios. 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, research, and/or examples from real-world practice. The playground will have opportunities to explore non-screen and non-digital technology related tools as well as high-tech options.

We are looking into the possibility of including a library of children's books which would add to further discussion of Computational Thinking and coding possibilities as well as other technology-integration strategies.

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:

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

“Coding as Literacy Teaching Programming as a Literacy of the 21st Century.” Coding as Literacy, DevTech Research Group, Tufts University,

More [+]


Andrea Alessio Robles, Highlands International School.

Innovation and Technology for Early Childhood Education at Highlands International School México. BA in Pedagogy, MA in Neuropsychology. Universidad Panamericana, Mexico City. Apple Teacher Swift Playgrounds. Member of the Apple Professional Learning Community.

Ben Cogswell, Bardin Elementary School
Katie Gardner, Knollwood Elem. /Rowan Salisbury Schools
Regina Gonzalez de Cossio, Highlands International School Mexico

Regina González de Cossío is a young teacher with a strong passion for Education, Neuroscience and Neurodevelopment. Along her 5 years of experience, she has devoted herself to implementing innovative methodologies in the classroom while teaching ESL disciplines and Science. Regina holds a Bachelors degree in Neuropsychology and a Masters Degree in Neuroeducation and Cognitive Neuroscience. She also holds qualifications on ESL teaching such as the Teachers Diploma and the Certificate for Advanced English (CAE). With this credentials, Regina's dream is to foster the use of technology to create meaningful learning experiences that promote child neurodevelopment.

Dr. Kate Highfield, Early Childhood Australia

Dr Kate Highfield is an experienced teacher, teacher educator and researcher, currently working with Early Childhood Australia - as General Manager or Professional Learning and Research Translation. Kate’s work explores effective technology integration and use, with a focus on potential impacts on learning (for adults and children), pedagogy and play. Kate has spent over two decades working as a classroom teacher and as a teacher educator and researcher at Swinburne and Macquarie Universities. Kate's current research (supported by a range of grants and Australian government projects) explores the impact of technology as a tool with young children, parents and educators.

Allison Leedie, Khan Academy Kids

Allison Leedie works with Khan Academy Kids on the School Partnerships team. She was a teacher, interventionist, and literacy coach in Houston, Texas. As a former teacher, she is passionate about helping schools as they use Khan Academy Kids to support their students. Khan Academy Kids is a free mobile app that inspires a love of learning by providing fun, engaging lessons that are aligned to CCSS and the HS ELOF. Learn more at

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

Wendy Oliver is a Senior Instructional Technology Specialist for Kamehameha Schools in the state of Hawai'i. She supports preschool teachers throughout the state with technology integration. She graduated with a BA in Geography from California State University Fullerton and earned her elementary teaching certifications in California and Texas. She is a former second and third grade teacher and Technology Integration Coach. She is a member of the ISTE Early Learning Network Leadership team.

Malia Ota, Kamehameha Schools Nā Kula Kamaliʻi

Malia Ota is the interim Instructional Technology Resource Teacher for Nā Kula Kamali’i o Kamehameha (Kamehameha Preschools). Malia supports nā kumu (Teachers) statewide. Prior to her current position, she was a classroom teacher for 14-years working with 3 and 4-year-olds. She graduated with a BA in Early Childhood Education from the University of Hawaiʻi-West Oʻahu,

Traci Piltz, Billings Public Schools

Traci Piltz is an Apple Distinguished Educator, PBS Kids Early Learning Champion, Google Certified Educator, and an Ambassador for Seesaw, Book Creator and PicCollage. She taught kindergarten for over a decade, and was one of the first 1:1 iPad classrooms in her district. She has been a technology integration specialist in her district for the past 5 years, helping kindergarten - 3rd grade teachers in her district innovate and integrate with technology. Traci has presented at ISTE 2019, 2017 ADE Academy, NAEYC, NCCE, the Montana State Educators Conference, and various other workshops and conferences in her state and district.

Casey Poe, Kamehameha Schools
Judy Quintero, Pre-K Pre-Code

​Judy is the founder and facilitator of Pre-K Pre-Code, an after school enrichment program for Montessori students, ages 3-6, in Portland, Oregon. In 30-minute sessions, children play and learn about computational thinking in an unplugged, hands-on environment. Pre-K Pre-Code is where coding and creativity go hand in LITTLE hand! Judy also writes a blog about the world of screen-free coding robots and other toys and games that teach computational thinking to early learners.

Iris Randle, Buffalo Public Schools
Emily Relkin, Tufts University

Emily Relkin is a Ph.D. student at the Eliot Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development at Tufts University and is a member of the DevTech Research Group. Her research focuses on developing ways to measure the acquisition of Computational Thinking skills in young children that not only allow them to program but also to solve real world problems. She developed and validated TechCheck, a novel unplugged computational thinking assessment for 5-9-year-olds that is being used in research and educational settings.

Aimee Sawyer, Khan Academy Kids

Aimee Sawyer works with Khan Academy Kids on the Teacher Success team. She is a former Head Start preschool teacher from Tulsa, Oklahoma. As a former teacher, she is passionate about supporting teachers as they use Khan Academy Kids with students. Khan Academy Kids is a free mobile app that inspires a love of learning by providing fun, engaging lessons that are aligned to CCSS and the HS ELOF. Learn more at

Amy Silverman, American International School Guangzhou

Amy Silverman is a preschool teacher and team leader at the American International School Guangzhou. She has a B.A in Elementary Education from Michigan State University, a M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction from Arizona State University, a M.Ed in Reading from Edinboro State University, and a Certificate in Early Childhood Administration from Champlain College. As an experienced early childhood and EAL teacher. Amy strives to make her inquiry-based classroom fun and accessible to all children. She takes a special interest in their social-emotional development.

Dr. Amanda Sullivan, Tufts University

Dr. Amanda Sullivan is a research consultant, educator, and author who broadly focuses on the impact of new technologies on young children. Her research specifically explores strategies for breaking gender stereotypes and engaging girls in STEM from an early age. Amanda is the co-creator of the ScratchJr Coding Cards: Creative Coding Activities for Children Ages 5-7 (No Starch Press) and author of the book Breaking the STEM Stereotype: Reaching Girls in Early Childhood (Rowman & Littlefield). Amanda holds a Master’s and Ph.D. in Child Development from Tufts University. Learn more about Amanda at:

Analucia Tejada, Independent Consultant

I'm a passionate early childhood educator, teaching technology to Preschool - Grade 1 students in a full-English-immersion private school in Guatemala City. I recently graduated with a masters in curriculum and educational technology, and I'm also a certified Google Educator and a Seesaw Ambassador. This will be my 6th year attending the ISTE Conference, and my 4th one as a presenter. Last year, I received the ISTE Early Learning Network Award for my work in the design and implementation of makerspaces with young learners.

Nikki Vradenburg, Montana PBS
Kari Wardle, Idaho Public Television

Kari Wardle currently works as the Education Manager for Idaho Public Television where she leads the education department and provides training and support to teachers throughout the state. Before joining the IdahoPTV staff in 2017, she worked as an elementary school teacher for ten years. Kari is a PBS Media Literacy Certified Educator, Google Level 2 certified teacher, a certified Microsoft Innovative Educator, an Apple Teacher. She obtained her B.A. in K-8 Interdisciplinary Studies from Western Governors University and her M.Ed. in Instructional Design and Technology from Idaho State University.

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