Positive Technological Development in Hybrid Learning Settings: Approaches for Early Childhood

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Participate and share : Poster

Angie Kalthoff  
Dr. Amanda Strawhacker  

Rooted in the Positive Technological Development framework, we share ways that families and educators can use technology to engage young children in hybrid, digital and physically confined learning settings. Playground-style digital environments can foster self-directed play and exploration, and help children bring a playground mentality to learning.

Audience: Coaches, Curriculum/district specialists, Teachers
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS
Participant accounts, software and other materials: ScratchJr app (
Topic: Innovation in early childhood/elementary
Grade level: PK-2
Subject area: Computer science, STEM/STEAM
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Advocate for equitable access to educational technology, digital content and learning opportunities to meet the diverse needs of all students.
  • Use technology to create, adapt and personalize learning experiences that foster independent learning and accommodate learner differences and needs.
For Coaches:
Digital Age Learning Environments
  • Coach teachers in and model use of online and blended learning, digital content, and collaborative learning networks to support and extend student learning as well as expand opportunities and choices for online professional development for teachers and administrators.
Disclosure: The submitter of this session has been supported by a company whose product is being included in the session

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Participants will learn about the Positive Technology Development framework, developed through years of research at the DevTech Research Group at Tufts, and hear examples of how PTD can support children's positive social, cognitive, and civic development. Participants will be able to plan their own technology-rich activities aligned with the PTD framework, and ask questions about how PTD might fit their unique needs.
 Participants will understand how to access more free PTD resources for developing technology-rich activities and learning settings.

Supporting research

TEDx Talks:

Bers, M.U. (2018). Coding as a Playground: Programming and Computational Thinking in the Early Childhood Classroom. New York, NY: Routledge Press.
Bers, M. U. (2012). Designing Digital Experiences for Positive Youth Development: From Playpen to Playground. Cary, NC: Oxford.

Book Chapters:
Bers, M., Lynch, A. D., & Chau, C. (2009). Positive technological development: The multifaceted nature of youth technology use towards improving self and society. In Ching, C.C. & Foley, B. J. (Eds.) Technology, Learning, and Identity: Research on the Development and Exploration of Selves in a Digital World. Cambridge University Press.

Research Articles:
Bers, M. U., González-González, C., & Armas–Torres, M. B. (2019). Coding as a playground: Promoting positive learning experiences in childhood classrooms. Computers & Education, 138, 130-145.
Strawhacker, A. and Bers, M. U. (2018). Promoting Positive Technological Development in a Kindergarten Makerspace: A Qualitative Case Study. European Journal of STEM Education, 3(3) 09. doi:10.20897/ejsteme/3869
Bers, M. U., Strawhacker, A. L., & Vizner, M. (2018). The design of early childhood makerspaces to support Positive Technological Development: Two case studies. Library Hi Tech. doi: 10.1108/LHT-06-2017-0112.
Portelance, D.J., & Bers, M.U. (2015). Code and Tell: Assessing young children’s learning of computational thinking using peer video interviews with ScratchJr: Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children (IDC ’15). Medford, MA, June 21-25. New York, NY: ACM.
Bers, M.U. (2010). Beyond computer literacy: Supporting youth’s positive development through technology. New Directions for Youth Development, 128, 13-23.
Bers, M. (2007). Positive Technological Development: Working with computers, children, and the Internet. MassPsych, 51(1), 5-7, 18-19.
Bers, M. (2006). The role of new technologies to foster positive youth development. Applied Developmental Science, 10(4), 200-219.

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Angie Kalthoff, Capstone
Dr. Amanda Strawhacker, Tufts University, ECT Graduate Program

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