ECE Tech Tools Showcase 2011

Innovative Technologies, Inspired Learning:

Showcasing Emergent Technologies That Can Empower Children and Transform Teaching

NAEYC 2011 Annual Conference Presentation:

(Friday, November 4, Orlando, Fl)

Mark Bailey: Professor, Pacific University, Oregon. Director Pacific University Child Learning and Development Center.
Bonnie Blagojevic: Early Childhood Education Consultant, Apple Distinguished Educator, Adjunct Faculty University of Maine,,
Diane Bales: Associate Professor, Child and Family Development, and Human Development Specialist, Cooperative Extension,The University of Georgia,
Warren Buckleitner: Editor, Children's Technology Review

We are members of the National Association for the Education of Young Children Technology and Young Children Interest Forum. Learn more about how you can get involved in our online community and projects! Visit the Technology and Young Children website today.

This will be an engaging and interactive session in which we will demonstrate a range of innovative emergent technologies and help you experience the variety of ways they can support your work and your students’ learning. Collaborative-tools, Web-based applications, hand-held devices, and student-empowering computing; these new technologies are transforming the way people of all ages are learning and communicating. Come be inspired to explore these tools, learn how to get started, and how they can enable amazing new opportunities for your students.

Mark Bailey - Exploring Emergent Technologies: Supporting Literacy Using Digital Tools
Please click on the text on the right to view my presentation in PDF form.
Topics: 1. Revisiting “Quality 2. Web-Based Tools 3. Handheld Computing: Tablets & Pods 4. Sifteo Cubes 5. iPhone Upload in SquareSpace
1. Revisiting Quality
A history of research into the use of computer hard and software tell us that appropriate and effective tools need to allow the child to be in control, to be open-ended in the manner in which the child can use the tool, should model diversity, support intentionality on the part of the child, enable a focus on the process of learning and creating over the product that is produced, offer expanding complexity, contain a non-violent orientation (no fighting and conflict as elements of the tool, and be easily integrated with other classroom learning opportunities. This is a tall order.
We also know that appropriate and effective use by teachers allows the child to be active, engaged, empower their creativity and problem solving, to be able to make choices rather than be forced into limited options, with adaptive scaffolding that allows the tool to continue to be challenging as the child learns and develops. Tools can be fully integrated into the classroom as one of many learning options.
Supporting Learning Using Digital Tools means supporting not supplanting the use of other concrete manipulatives. It means building on concrete experiences in the child's world, engaging children in social interactions with and through these tools and the extension of traditional learning opportunities in meaningful ways.
Learning with Digital Tools at its best involves Child Initiated, Child Directed, Teacher Scaffolded, Technology Supported, PLAY, Creation, Exploration, Problem Solving, Documentation, Discovery, Thinking, Reading, Listening... Learning.
A Wordle of the text of the Draft of the NAEYC position statement on Technology.
2. Web-Based Tools
Blogs in early childhood (redux).
Here is an excellent video on what a blog is - I have selected some Kindergarten blogs based on the different elements they contain, as well as their ability to represent student work. As you explore them, notice the variety of special way they use images, video sound and other representations of student work.
Early Learning Community Blogs -
Mr Kindergarten -
Ms. Rose's Kindergarten Blog -
Manaia New Zealand -
To start blogging I would recommend you visit the following three sites to Learn more.
Blogging It’s Elementary - A Webquest for Students
Learning To Blog- Kim Cofino and her new site at

Blooging is good for sharing photos, text, videos, links, audio files, Documenting learning projects, Enabling reflection on experiences, Sharing pedagogy & materials with parents, Informing of events or activities, extending community, however they can take considerable time to produce

An engaging program that will allow students to write online stories, as well as collaborate with others across the Web to co-write these creations is calledStorybird and it is referred to as a collaborative literacy tool. Authors combine preloaded images provided by the site and text that they write into a story that is visually quite striking. It is the collaborative element of the tool that is the most interesting and as such it is a classic web 2.0 tool. You can read about their work on this tool on the Storybird Blog
Storybird is a good Collaborative approach to writing, Sharing with others is excellent, Comments can be encouraging, Motivating to write and share, However it tends to be predominantly image driven for children, this tends to limit creativity and dominate story line. This makes it less student- centered

I want to revisit the interesting Geosharing tool called Mapskip This is Browser-based Java powered tool that allows students to post stories, pictures and sounds about places and events in the world. Using a zoomable map as the interface, students can explore the world of posted information or add their own links. This application is useful for building geography skills, for labeling, describing and telling stories about the world. While it resonates with a place based approach to education, it also fosters a multicultural sensitivity to peoples connection with their world. I have a link to a page generated by children in our kindergarten where it was useful for helping them process a nearby tornado (a rare event in oregon). Here is a link to the mapskip blog

iWebis a powerful web design tool that was really created for adults, however it can be very useful for children starting at about 1st grade. While it runs exclusively on Apple Computers (and is packaged standard along with the computer), when designed, the pages will display on any browser. It supports multimedia content and links such as video, podcasts, photo galleries and other content. It will allow comments to be enabled allowing the designer to receive feedback (that can be mediated). The only down side is that the website must be served by either a schools server or an external site. I have provided a LINKto a first grade blog that was created in the ELC by Ewan exploring his developing understanding of Spiders. iWeb is an excellent platform for the more mature ECE student to create projects with photos, text, videos, links, audio, etc. It enables reflection on learning experiences and sharing that work with others. WHile it does require some significant initial teacher scaffolding, it is very engaging. It does have a set of templates from which to work and that can be creativity limiting, but this is probably helpful for children for whom the web interface necessitates this support.

3. Handheld Computing: Tablets & Pods
While this is the focus of Diane's presentation, I will add a few notes here and highlight 3 applications.

Storykit is an older application for the iPad and it is considered by its creators to be a tool for intergenerational mobile storytelling (Hear Podcast). Stories are created through audio recording, photographing, drawing or writing on the iphone or iPad and then these elements are put together into a story. Stories can then be sent to a secure webpage where you can invite others to view. Here is a Link to a digital storytelling post in StoryKit. I have also provided a link to an interesting paper about Storykit as well as a link to Ben Bederson's Blog. StoryKit is one of our favorites in the ELC because of its open-ended nature and blank piece of paper characteristics, with all the best technology characteristics. It is excellent for supporting or elaborating storymaking, it seems to be very motivating, it can be used by individuals or collaboratively, and it is Free.
Here are some links to online stories. Aven, Katelyn, Ozilline
I have attached 3 links to videos of Ms. Aja Apple using the tool with students in the ELC. She does an excellent job of modeling one type of process with students.
Katelyn age 5.7
Ozilline age 5.3
Damon age 5.2

For those of you who know my work, I have been chasing down speech to text for almost a decade and now we are close for children. While the Dragon engine seems to work on PCs for adults, with the advent of iPads and iPods, Dictation has been put on devices that require no training of the tool to recognize voice and diction. While it is not yet perfect, it is now nearing a level of almost tolerable accuracy that may be functional for children. WHile I will not yet use it, it is now only a matter of a short bit of time and I think this will have the capability to change the manner in which the connection between the spoken and written word are learned by young children. It will encourage the use of expanded vocabulary, and it will totally transform early storymaking by empowering students to tell the stories in their heads.

Interactive Books
A new generation of books are emerging that utilize the best elements of traditional texts while incorporating some powerful and creative aspects of new technologies. While I think that the leading edge of these books were produced by Broderbund over a decade ago under the Living Books series (some are still available today for current computers and iPads), the newest generation of books incorporate new features and are a bit more subtle. Example of these books includes Peter Rabbit, and Alice in Wonderland. But my new favorite is The Fantastic Flying books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. This book contains not only an elloquent story about the power of literacy, but it is also an immersive interactive audio, visual experience.


4. Sifteo Cubes
This is another stunningly unique digital manipulative material. Sifteo cubes are a new generation of learning tools in the form of manipulative blocks. They require a computer within 20 feet that communicate with the cubes using USB bluetooth (provided). They are motion sensitive and communicate with each other to form words, add numbers, solve problems, or let you design art or music. And those are just the applications that are presently written. Developed in the MIT media lab, the cubes run on gam programs that continue to be developed and that are purchased for a few dollars per program on points purchased from the company. These cubes and the games that they run are intriguing and engaging for children, although many of the games or learning activities will be challenging to younger children. On the down side most of the apps that have been developed are not open ended and are technology directed. And they are not cheap running about $150 for a starter package of 3 cubes. The designers will be producing more games in the future and I look for the applications to evolve as the tool matures in the hands and feedback of users. This is an amazing new concept, we will see if it lives us to its potential.

5. iPhone Upload in SquareSpace - One more thing...
As I noted above, blogging can be time consuming. One final element that ties into the work Bonnie will present is a clever time-saver and innovative new tool. The company squarespace has developed an iPhone app that allows teachers to take a photograph during the course of the school day, and within the push of approximately 3 buttons (and if desired the adding of text), this photo can instantly be added to your classroom blog. That simple. Here is a VIDEO of Aja demonstrating and walking us through the process.

I hope you will try some of these tool in your classroom and if you do, please let me know how it goes, I would love to hear from you.

Warren Buckleitner-

Diane Bales - Using Technology Tools to Support Preschoolers' Hands-on Exploration

I am working with Phillip Baumgarner, an experienced preschool teacher at the University of Georgia's Child Development Lab at the McPhaul Center, to introduce iPads as a hands-on research and learning tool for a mixed-age class of preschoolers. We are documenting children's navigation of the iPad interface; their use of shared language and peer teaching; and their growing scientific investigation skills.

Key action research questions about children's iPad use:
  • How can we push children beyond simply "playing games"?
    Group 2's research about how monkeys and apes are different
  • How can we encourage children to view iPads as tools for collaborative learning of new information?
  • How do teachers learn to integrate iPad use into their ongoing curriculum planning?
  • What role do parents play in guiding iPad use in the classroom?

Our early steps in iPad use:
  • Identifying apps for use with children. Sources have included personal experience, recommendations from other teachers, recommendations from parents, the ECETECH Diigo group, and app lists (e.g., I Education Apps Review, Moms with Apps, AppsFire Preschool Apps). Finding apps that engage preschoolers in developmentally appropriate ways has been challenging!
  • Introducing iPads in the classroom. We introduced them as collaborative tools to be used by partners. This is encouraging collaborative learning, peer teaching and mentoring, and shared language.
  • Initial exploration. Early app choices included photography, drawing and painting, and educational games. Children learned to unlock the iPads, tap and drag, create, and save their work.
  • Using iPads to document field trip experiences. On a trip to the UGA Robotics Laboratory, children used the iPads to take photos of robots in action. Because of the size and weight of the iPads (especially in Otter Box cases), taking photos is a cooperative effort.
  • Researching with iPads. During a recent study of monkeys, a question came up about the difference between monkeys and apes. Children divided into two groups and used the iPads to search for information about the differences. Each group created a list, and teams compared notes.

Key observations of preschoolers' iPad use:
  • Children begin with a variety of iPad experience. About half of the children had used iPads before; the others had not.
  • Most children learn quickly to navigate the iPad interface, and use "iPad words" quickly (drag, tap, slide)
  • Without teacher direction, children gravitate to games and see iPads as “toys”. Games can be frustrating (especially if they do not understand the point), but children still choose them first. Introducing other uses is more challenging and requires thoughtful teacher planning and guidance.
  • Teachers also have a variety of experience with iPads. Not all teachers are good at distinguishing between apps that teach preschoolers in developmentally appropriate ways and "educational" apps that are primarily intended to entertain and occupy children. (This may be an extension of the "pass-back effect", documented in the report //Learning: Is there an app for that?//)
  • Parents are interested in having their children use iPads in the preschool classroom, and have their own ideas. Parents have asked regularly about the project, have shared their children's favorite app ideas, and have offered to connect with children using FaceTime.
  • New partnerships are forming between children. Because we have required that children use the iPads with partners, we areseeing some new relationships between children who do not typically play together, but share an interest in using the iPad. Phillip encourages these new partnerships by sometimes asking children to "surprise us" with the partner they select.

Future plans:
  • More in-depth science investigation using the ProScope mobile. The ProScope Mobile is a cordless, digital hand-held microscope that integrates with the iPad. Unlike many other microscopes marketed to children, this is a real microscope - not just a toy. It has several different magnification levels. Specimens can be recorded with the touch of a button. Images are stored in the iPad's photo album, and can be shared in the same way as any other photo. This increases the possibilities for documenting and sharing scientific findings.
  • Using iPads to communicate with others. Possibilities include creating and sharing stories of scientific findings using StoryKit and VoiceThread (which also has a brand-new iPad app), communicating with others using FaceTime (which excites some parents!), and creating a class blog to keep families updated on classroom activities.
  • Documenting growth in children's use of iPads, in teachers' integration of this tool into ongoing curriculum plans and activities, in parents' attitudes toward technology use in their preschoolers, and in parents' and teachers' increasing ability to select developmentally appropriate apps for preschoolers.

Bonnie Blagojevic - Productivity and Collaboration Tools

As mentioned in our presentation, here are some additional resources to explore:

Continue the conversation-join the NAEYC Technology & Young Children Interest Forum listserv,website, Diigo group and wiki.