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More Than 'Just' Play! Deep, Playful Learning With Tech and Little Learners

Pennsylvania Convention Center, Playground A

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Instructional Technologist
Melissa Adkins, Mississippi's sole Google Certified Innovator, has 25 years of educational experience. As an Instructional Technologist for 17 years, she spearheaded district-wide initiatives, implementing Google for EDU, Kami, and Canva. Melissa serves as an ambassador for Wakelet, MicrosoftFlip, Book Creator, and Breakout EDU, advocating for technology integration to foster critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, communication, and computational skills. She is on Mississippi's Elementary Computer Science Task Force, empowering educators to meet the requirements of the MS Computer Science and Cyber Education Equality Act. Melissa inspires educators and students, equipping them to embrace technology's possibilities in the classroom.
Director of Innovation Technology
I am the Director of Innovation Technology at AIM Academy in Conshohocken, PA. AIM is an independent school for students in grades 1-12 with language-based learning differences. I believe technology should not be taught in a silo. The most meaningful integration occurs when tech projects relate to other aspects of the curriculum.
Coach Archie Duran Elementary
Stormy Daniels is an experienced educator who has spent over 15 years in the classroom and is known for her focus on personalized pedagogy that aligns with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Stormy is passionate about creating positive change and empowering students to become global citizens who can make a difference in the world. Stormy's expertise includes implementing personalized curricula, and she offers personalized coaching and consulting services through her education consultancy, EdTech Purpose LLC, to help educators and institutions create student-centered and impactful learning experiences. Ed3DAO Genesis Member
WBR Parish Schools
Morgan is a Kindergarten through 4th grade STEM teacher in her hometown of West Baton Rouge Parish, where she was born and raised and her career in education started. Every day in her classroom, she strives to ensure that her students have hands-on, engaging, and meaningful learning experiences. She currently incorporates technology in many of her lessons on a daily basis for her little learners to equip them with 21st Century Skills to use now and for their future, all while strengthening their foundational skills needed for lifelong learning.
K-4 Tech, Innovation & Design Integrator
The Peck School
Jennifer Garvey is a K-4 technology, innovation, and design integrator at The Peck School in Morristown, NJ.
Technology coach STEM teacher Tunisia
Mustapha kraif secondary school
ISTE Certified Educator
Hi, I’m Douha ! secondary education I’m passionate about inclusive learning, digital practice and enabling others to achieve their potential through education, ... I'm also passionate about SDGs and focus my energies outside of work on volunteering projects that support achieving the Goals 4 Quality of education ✭ Mentor of Micro: bit 2021 :3prizes in2 categories ✭winner of the 2021 ISTE Digital Equity Network Award ✭ MIEExpert 2019- ,2023 ✭ MIETrainer, MIE Master Trainer 2020 -.2023 ✭ TeachSDGs Ambassador chohort4,5,6 & Global Schools advocate ✭Winner ISA (2018-2021) ✭ winner of the Etwinning European Competition 2020 ✭ Etwining Ambassador
Editor, Creative Educator
Tech4Learning, Inc
Melinda is the Editor of Creative Educator magazine and the Deputy Director of the Constructivist Consortium. Melinda is also one of the founders of Tech4Learning. For the past 20 years, Melinda has led workshops at schools around the world and made hundreds of presentations at education conferences, such as ASCD and ISTE, on the topics of creativity, project-based learning, and open-ended technologies. She has been a featured speaker or keynote at MACUL, VSTE, MICCA, and ISTE.
Library Media and Technology Teacher
Eastford Road School
Jennifer is currently working as the Library/Media and Technology teacher at Eastford Road Elementary School. She holds a Master of Science in Applied Communication from Fitchburg State University, where she has previously worked as an adjunct instructor in the Communication and Media Department. Prior to starting her position at ERS, she successfully ran a small media literacy consulting company. Jennifer has delivered several presentations and trainings on communication and media literacy. She is also an experienced photographer and videographer. She strives to help students grow as successful communicators, critical thinkers, and positive contributors to society.
Digital Learning Coach
Newton County Schools
Alvin ISD
Chelsey has been teaching for 8 years in classes from 2nd to 5th grade. She loves incorporating hands on technology into her lessons for students of all ages.
Suddenly It Clicks!
Gail began her career as an inner-city teacher of young learners. She is an early adopter of technology, earning her Master’s Degree in Educational Computing from Pepperdine University in the early 1980s. Gail has been an Adjunct Professor at Pepperdine University, University of Houston, and the University of Northern Iowa. She had long-time columns for Scholastic, Classroom Connect, ISTE and others. Gail is proud of her book “Using an iPad with Your Preschooler” (with Gayle Berthiaume.) Gail founded the ISTE Early Learning Network and was one of the first at NECC/ISTE Conferences to focus on using technology with young learners.
K-5 STEM Integration Specialist
Russell Street School
ISTE Certified Educator
Heidi MacGregor is the K-5 STEM Integration Specialist for Littleton Public Schools. Prior to this position, she taught 4th grade for 10 years at Russell Street Elementary School. Heidi is a proud ISTE Certified Educator and is a MakerSpace and Global Education enthusiast. She is always looking for new and exciting ways to amplify student voices. Heidi serves on the MassCUE Board of Directors, the MassCUE Professional Development Committee, MassCUE Influence and Advocacy Committee and is the leader of the MassCUE MakerSpace & STEM Special Interest Group (SIG). In addition, she is one of the co-founders of Middlesex Scratch Meetups.
Assistant Principal
Texas Virtual Academy
Dazzling Discoveries
Godwyn Morris is the Director of Dazzling Discoveries STEM Education Center in NYC and Skill MIll NYC, maker space style facilities in New York City. Her mission is to empower kids through hands-on creative experiences. She is the inventor of DazzLinks Cardboard Building Kits, co-creator of Engineering with Paper packets; projects that can be made with just paper, tape and scissors. Several of her projects have been published in the New York Times.
Library Media Specialist & Instructional Technology Teacher
Conshohocken Elem. / Colonial S.D.
Nina Pratowski has been teaching in the Colonial School District for over 20 years. She is both the Library Media Specialist and Instructional Technology Teacher at Conshohocken Elementary School. Nina encourages her students to be curious, take risks, explore various ideas, and tinker through the use of various technology tools. She has helped develop the K – 3rd grade curriculum that explores coding, robotics, and the creativity and design process.
Eastford Road School Southbridge MA
@Juli Robb
School Director Head of Innovation
ISTE Certified Educator
Silvia Scuracchio is a Principal and Head of Innovation at Escola Bosque , São Paulo, Brazil. Psychologist, Pedagogue, Master in Educational Psychology , ISTE Certified Educator
Instructional Technology Specialist
Troy University Technology in Motion
Dr. Charisse Snell is the Alabama Technology in Motion (ATiM) for the Troy University Regional Inservice Center. She has been an educator for 25 years. Prior to becoming an ATiM specialist, Dr. Snell was a classroom teacher for 13 years, and a technology teacher for 10 years. She considers it a privilege to help educators with integrating technology effectively throughout the curriculum to increase student learning, engagement, creativity, and innovation. Dr. Snell is currently a member of the technology coaching cohort, ALTIC.
School Based Technology Specialist
Fairfax County Public Schools
ISTE Certified Educator
An educator with over twenty years of experience, Debbie Tannenbaum works each and every day to “transform” learning using technology. During her time in education, she has served both as a classroom teacher in various grades and as an elementary technology coach. Outside of the classroom, Debbie promotes using technology tools to amplify student learning in her work as an educational technology consultant, author, blogger and speaker. You can connect with Debbie at .
Computer Science - Curriculum Specialist
Marquette University
@Heidi Ann Williams
Heidi Williams is a passionate coding and computational thinking advocate. She has over 30 years of experience in K-12 public education as both a teacher and administrator. She currently serves as a computer science curriculum specialist for Marquette University's PUMP CS grant in Milwaukee, WI. Williams has shared her passion for integrating coding and computational thinking into the curriculum at local, state, regional and national conferences, and many have leveraged her expertise for conference presentations, coding coaching, professional development and K-12 scope and sequence alignment of computer science skills throughout the curriculum (

Session description

Come play with a mix of hands-on and minds-on experiences for learners ages 3 to 8 and the many roles technology can take in their varied learning journeys. It's a playground, so expect to play with ideas and tech with an emphasis on computational thinking and active learning.

Purpose & objective

The purpose of the Early Learning Playground is to provide a casual, active learning experience and meaningful conversations around the use of technologies with and for young learners ages 3 to 8 years. The Playground is designed to encourage playful exploration of technology's many roles in supporting and encouraging learning in young children.

A variety of tools and resources will be shared in active learning settings and presentations all with a purpose of encouraging conversations, discussions and thought about the powerful uses of technologies with young learners.

Tools to be included are robotics, collaborative tools, building tools, communication tools, programming tools and more.

The Early Learning Playground will be successful if educators find themselves thinking, discussing and wondering about the possibilities that technology can bring to their own young learners and their adults. Furthermore, the Playground will be successful if participants are still thinking about things they did, played with, saw, spoke about with others in the following days and months. (The Early Learning Playground will include an online resource/sharing site which will persist well beyond the short duration of the conference.)

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Activities in the Playground will focus on Computational Thinking and Active Learning with Technologies for young learners ages 3-8 years.

There will be activities facilitated by educators using robots, collaborative software, and other apps and tools, always with a focus on young learners and their learning and development. These activities will encourage hands-on use and peer-to-peer discussion and problem solving in a supportive, fun atmosphere. Additionally, there will be interactive presentations, a collaboration station, and a "library "of typical classroom materials (paper-based books, classroom manipulatives and more) with annotations or examples of ways to connect technologies with other learning tools.

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Supporting research

Research related to active learning and choice for adult learners:

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Session specifications

Innovation in early childhood/elementary
Grade level:
Skill level:
Principals/head teachers, Teachers, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Attendee devices:
Devices useful
Attendee device specification:
Smartphone: Android, iOS, Windows
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials:
TBD as stations and presenters are selected.
Subject area:
Language arts, STEM/STEAM
ISTE Standards:
For Educators:
  • Create learning opportunities that challenge students to use a design process and computational thinking to innovate and solve problems.
  • 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.