Join #ECEtechCHAT on Leap Day (well, leap evening here in the US anyway) 2/29 at 9 PM EST to explore the use of technology before, during and after field trips. Come ready to share tech tips, ideas, and strategies that help you or a teacher you know make the most of field trips with technology.
Our chat last week was a robust exchange of ideas, tips, tricks, and tools for digital photography in ECE. The transcript is a treasure trove of great inspiration.
Join us on Twitter every week on Wednesday at 9 PM to explore topics related to technology use in ECE. Just follow #ECEtechCHAT.
This week, we will explore the role of social media in professional learning networks in early childhood. This week, @Mpowers3, Maggie Powers, will take the helm of the chat to delve into the following questions:
1) How do you know who to add to your PLN?
2) How do you use social media to communicate with your personal/professional learning network (PLN)?
3) How can you make your PLN a supportive, informative, and strong community?
4) What are some ways your digital PLN can be a resource for your face-to-face interactions and work in early childhood?
QUESTION TO THE #ECETECHCHAT COMMUNITY: Do you think we should hold the chats every other week instead of every week? Pros? Cons?
ECEtechCHAT 2.8.2012 at 9 PM EST
Share your thoughts about using technology for professional development and staff engagement in your school or program!
1) Is your school, organization or program planning for and intentionally using technology for professional development?
2) What combinations of tech tools, techniques, and methods work best to provide sound professional development for educators?
3) Can asynchronous elearning, webinars and other synchronous online learning provide a complete experience, or is more needed?
4) What role does social media play in intentional professional development? Is it organic, or do you plan for social media use as an element of PD?
Bring your ideas , links, and questions to the party!
Our topic for 2/1 (at 9 pm) is “How to use technology to engage and involve parents in ECE programs and organizations” It;s a big topic that go in a lot of directions.Here are some guiding questions to consider as you plan for the chat:
1) Parent engagement and involvement are very different.
What role does technology play in connecting with parents? What is the role of social media? What about other tools?
2) How do you use or envision technology being used to engage and involve parents?
3) What do you do to narrow the digital divide for parents/families?
4) Of course: What are the best applications (that means Internet systems as well as apps),devices, and processes for engaging and involving parents?
Transcripts from last week’s chat about mobile devices
1) Is your program using or can you envision using mobile devices in your program?
2) Have you found great apps or special devices? Share them with us!
3) What are the challenges and opportunities of using mobile devices with young children and their teachers?
4) How to you manage access to mobile devices?
Transcripts from last week’s chat
#ECEtechCHAT on 1/18/2012: Resistance to Technology Integration
The (temporary) home of the official Early Childhood Education Technology Chat on Twitter
Wednesdays at 9 PM EASTERN TIME!
Hey there #ECEtechCHAT tweeks. This week’s topic is overcoming resistance to integrating technology tools in early childhood settings.
The questions for this chat are:
A. Have you experienced resistance from staff, administrators, or parents to technology integration in your program? If so, what obstacles did resistors present?
B. Is there any way to avoid some resistance to change?
C. How did you overcome resistance?
If you have links to share, come ready to tweet them at 9 pm, EST on 1.18.2012!
If you have never attended a Twitter chat, here’s a little information about how to participate in a cha
As always, you have touched the heart of the matter in this piece. With the responsible and intentional use of technology, educators have the ability to transform classrooms, just as educators in in K-12 and higher education. But, there is a profound disparity that sets early education far behind other sectors of education: As a rule, the vast majority of early childhood programs do not have the professional development, support networks, infrastructure, and equipment upon which other sectors of education are built. It’s not so simple to just specify what teachers need. Jumping into the technology mainstream is far more complex for early educators.
Aside from publicly funded Pre-K programs, early childhood educator qualifications and training vary widely. Administrators and teachers often lack the technology know-how, resources, support networks, and experience of their counterparts in other education sectors. With these issues as a backdrop during a period of rapid proliferation of educational technology development, it is important to acknowledge the lack of funding for educational technology. While I often see grant opportunities for K-12 programs, I rarely see similar offers that include early childhood programs.
Knowing what we know about what teachers and administrators need to be intentional about technology use doesn’t help if there is no money for infrastructure and no state guidelines/expectations for early childhood programs. We need a call to action for public and private funding similar to those offered in the K-12 sector.
Fran Simon, M.Ed.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost
There’s a lot of buzz that PowerPoint should be abolished. In fact, in Switzerland, the trend has borne an entire political party, the Anti-PowerPoint Party (APPP). The call to end the use of PowerPoint presentations is not a new phenomenon. I can understand why people love to hate presentation software… it’s a convenient way to explain why presentations stink. It’s not about their slides or their presentation style!
Does the “death to PowerPoint” movement make you feel inadequate? Uncool? Uninformed, and out of date? Stop feeling like a hack and think logically. It’s not the software!
Repeat after me: PowerPoint and the other presentation software packages like SlideRocket, Keynote, and Prezi are not really responsible for mind-numbing presentations. It’s like saying a fork is responsible for a horrible meal.
Come on now, folks… Let’s be rational. Could it be that presenters often use presentation software poorly? Of course. Often presenters don’t use best practice in adult learning theory . They don’t think about how they would like to be engaged if they were in the audience. And they don’t take the time to seek out any of the easy-to-find tips and tricks that can help them deliver powerful presentations. Oh no… they just slap up bullets and charts and proceed to read from them. BORING.
By the way, webinars would be pretty hard to do with flipcharts, and using webcams for talking heads gets old after a while. Virtual presentations require even more skill to engage participants, so it’s critical to learn more and do more when you present virtually.
Stop blaming the tools and buying the hogwash from people who are trying to sell you another method. Brush up on your technique and learn a little bit about best practice. Think about how to communicate authentically with the people who come to hear you share your expertise. Here are some great resources to help you avoid the pitfalls of heavy dependance on bad slides:
The Virtual Presenter Blog by Roger Courville
Make Better Presentations – The Anatomy of a Good Speech by Chris Brogan
Great Webinars by Cynthia Clay
Presentation Zen, the Blog
Presentation Zen, by Garr Reynolds
17 Examples of Great Presentation Design on Hubspot
Really Bad Powerpoint by Seth Godin
There are literally thousands of really great resources to help you use PowerPoint (or your favorite presentation software package) well. There’s no reason to feel badly because you use slides. But you should feel terrible if you use slides poorly. Don’t be lazy and blame the tools, get off the stick and learn something new to dazzle and engage your participants.
It’s interesting to see how people who are weary of change react when change becomes inevitable. Take, for example, the recent flap over the draft update to the NAEYC Technology Position Statement. Some very respected leaders in early childhood education, including Diane Levin, Meg Merrill, and Susan Linn, have taken exception to the draft, and have issued a “call to action” to the field to respond to the draft. While I also urge everyone to take (hopefully) one last chance to weigh in on the draft, I (with all due respect) take exception to some of the extreme assertions and misinformation they published about the draft.
Now, bear in mind that this Position Statement has been in the works for more than a year, and there was already one comment period. The authors incorporated the comments into the most recent draft. In order to accommodate all the viewpoints, another comment period was offered to members. This (hopefully final) comment period ends May 31.
So is all of this much ado about nothing? I think it is. I believe the arguments set forth by many of the “anti-technology” contingent muddle the waters with inapplicable arguments and inaccurate insinuations. While the detractors of the draft statement sometimes make meaningful points to consider, they are obscured within exaggerations and out of context statements. Don’t get me wrong, I think a little refinement might be in order, but many of the statements completely off-target.
Point, Counterpoint: My perspective on the drama
I’ll address the points in the statement entitled “Do preschoolers need mandatory screen time?” on the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood website:
If we don’t act now, the pressure on early childcare programs to incorporate screen time into their core curriculum will intensify. With preschoolers already spending an average of 32 hours per week with screens outside of classrooms, the last thing they need is mandatory screen time in school or daycare.
1) “Pressure” and “screen time”? Position papers do not pressure or direct association members to do anything. They state positions from a high level. No obligations are stated, implied, or intended in this draft or any other position paper NAEYC has ever issued.
2) If children are already spending time in front of screens at home (which is clearly a class issue) shouldn’t we issue guidance to parents instead of ECE programs? Shouldn’t parents turn off the TV and shut down the computers to spend quality time with their children? Isn’t it more likely that professionals will make constructive use of interactive technology than parents who don’t know a lot about child development? Do we not trust the programs who are members of NAEYC to use technology judiciously?
3) The data, including the statement “32 hours” of “screen time” used out of context. Numbers are bandied about recklessly. Is this data about children birth to 8? Is the data reflective of TV/Video use or interactive technology, or what? All screens are not made equal. It’s irresponsible to generalize data and use it when it does not apply. That is a tactic for extremists. Extremism is bad for early childhood education.
4) Remember, the concept of Developmentally Appropriate Practice was developed by NAEYC. Clearly NAEYC does not advocate sitting groups of children down for instruction on computers or for anything else.
Prescribes that screen technologies should be included in all early childhood settings, regardless of the age of the children served or type of program. Even play-based and outdoor preschools will be expected to incorporate screens.
Provides no objective criteria or guidance to educators about whether or when to incorporate screens into their classrooms.
Does not address the growing problem of screen-based commercialism in preschools.
4) The draft does not prescribe anything. It does not “mandate” “screen time”. It is clear that NAEYC does not and cannot “mandate” anything. It is a voluntary membership organization that offers high level position statements. How can you make the leap from a position paper from a membership organization to “…expected to…” do anything?
5) In general, position statements are not standards. They simply outline an organization’s position from a very high level. They:
- do not include in-depth summaries of research, but do include citations upon which the statement was built.
- do not include a lot of direct guidance. They outline the position of the organization, which sets the stage for books, articles, policies, and procedures that will offer more guidance.
- cannot encompass detailed discussions of every possible negative result, but should offer high level guidance about the possible consequences and problems, as this draft does. Commercialism in media are not a part of a statement intended to discuss the use of interactive technology in the classroom. The authors of this draft were careful to carve out a specific path to discuss interactive technologies in the classroom to set the position statement apart from discussions about violent and otherwise harmful media and commercialism.
I’m issuing my own call to action: Let’s all agree that we are doing our best to help early childhood educators learn more about how to use interactive technology with intention and responsibility. Let’s take extremism out of the equation, use information in context, and think strategically about how to make progress. While I also urge everyone to send comments, I also urge you to use reason and offer ideas within the context of a position statement. If you need to write a book that builds upon or contradicts NAEYC’s position statement, have at it.
Explore the real issues: How to evaluate interactive technology
ECE Tech: Beyond Debate-How To Evaluate Children’s Interactive Technology Tools and Media
Maybe I am just in a bad mood today. Have you ever noticed that you can’t shake hands with people who won’t give you their hands? You can reach out, but if the other person rebuffs your reach, your had is left helplessly and awkwardly flailing mid-air while you blush and stammer and the intended recipient tells you why your handshake is meaningless. OK. I’m being coy. Here’s what I really mean to say…
No matter what field you are in, and no matter how open-minded you are, you won’t be able to get some people to even listen to your ideas if they don’t want to consider another point of view. That’s the difference between ignorance and stupidity. Stupidity is innocent. If you don’t know something, you just don’t know. But ignorance means you are smart enough to understand it, but you choose to close your mind to the possibilities. Not shaking hands is ignorant.
Are early childhood educators biased against learning divergent approaches, ideas and techniques? I think so…
I think many of my colleagues are narrow-minded. (But not you of course!) I only want them to open their minds to the possibility that the 21st century definition of developmentally appropriate practice is vastly different from the definition that we used in the 20th century.
It’s pretty simple: I just want my colleagues to listen to other ideas and really just consider something outside of their safe, comfortable boxes. I wish they would step out on the ledge to learn something new so they can either incorporate it into their practice, dismiss it, or protect against it. After all, if they don’t know anything about it, how can they possibly determine that it is wrong?
And, I don’t just mean technology. I mean other methods of (heaven forbid) “instruction”.
Personally I think developmentally appropriate classrooms can be balanced with more than just play. Let me state for the record: I believe that play and child-initiated experiences should be the foundation of every early childhood classroom. I am an avid constructivist…who believes in balance and innovation. I know centuries old techniques can’t get children where they need to be in today’s world. Resistance can’t help. It can only hurt.
Despite our chest-pounding and pontificating, by the time children get to college, they’ve fallen woefully behind children in other industrialized countries. Could it be that we’re doing something wrong in the early years? We all know the question and the answers are very complex due to policies and funding., (or lack thereof) cultural influences, and a myriad of other problems that plague education in the US. But, is it possible that early childhood educator’s defiance stands in the way of progress? Is it smart to pause and look at what we’re doing and what we’re not doing, and ask hard questions? I think so.
There’s a new discussion in the Early Childhood and CCR&R group on LinkedIn that’s been sparked by an interview with me, Warren Buckleitner and Cris Rowan on Bam! Radio Network about using technology in ECE programs. I’ll let you take a look at the discussion and listen to the podcast and make your own decisions about what you think, but I will tell you that Warren accurately pointed out that Cris bastardizes and misrepresents research findings. In my personal opinion, taking research and making broad baseless statements to scare parents and educators into buying books is never a good practice. I believe Cris plays on the fear of the unknown that plagues our field. I’d call that headline grabbing extremism.
But, I digress…. The age-old debate about using technology or not using technology is not really the point. It’s about blind resistance, and the perpetuation of a decades old mantra that early childhood educators have adopted. It’s about comfort zones that hamper innovation and progress. Could that be bad for children? I think so.
So what do you think? I hope you share a passion for a 21st century vision of developmentally appropriate practice that weaves in new approaches and tools. I hope you don’t have a vision of technology use in ECE that falsely assumes children will do nothing but sitting passively at computers in classrooms that are devoid of paint, blocks, inspiring teachers, and all the other traditional accouterments of great classrooms. I hope you believe in balance and open-minded inquiry about what works in ECE, and understand that technology/innovation and play/child-initiated experiences are not mutually exclusive. It’s just not black and white….there are many shades of gray, and they are all lovely.
Post your thoughts here on my blog. Back me up if you share my vision, or blast me if you don’t.
“We just launched this website 16 months ago! What do you mean you have to do more development?” says the CFO/CEO/President/Business owner to the marketing geek. I hear it all the time. It’s a common misconception that investing a lot into a website means you will only have to add new content in the future. You may think once you develop the site you won’t ever have to think about the website again. Wrong. Read on!
It’s true that if the design of your pages is robust and flexible, and you have an awesome content management system, you will have to make fewer major revisions to your site. And, the more you money and time you invest in designing a flexible design up front, the fewer changes you will need to make over the lifespan of your site. However, the bottom line is that websites are a bit like homes…They need regular maintenance. After all, your lifestyle changes, appliances and fixtures break, and advances in household products come out every day. Your home has to accommodate those inevitable changes. Your website also needs to adjust to reflect the changes in your business, rapid technology changes, and minor hiccups along the way. For example, the introduction of social plugins from Facebook have sent businesses back to their website developers to adjust their websites to accommodate feeds and like buttons. Adjusting pages to accommodate those changes required rethinking many websites. Regardless of external technology changes, business goals and priorities often change, and your website has to reflect those changes.
The fact is the average lifespan of a website is only three to (and this is pushing it) five years. If your website is more than 3 years old, and you’ve done nothing to it over those three years, chances are you need to start thinking about a major overhaul.
7 key recommendations about website development and maintenance:
- Invest as much as you can into your website design on the front end so you can:
- Build in a great content management system.
- Automate as many related marketing processes as possible.
- Build in a very flexible design that allows you to adjust along the way.
- Pick developers who you like, trust, and can work with over the course of the lifespan of your site. (Your developers will be your new BFFs, so you better respect them.)
- You will need to budget for website maintenance, enhancements, and tweaks every year over the lifespan of your site.
- You will need to revise or overhaul your site in 3-5 years.
- Think through your goals, target audience(s), and aesthetics. Be prepared to tell your developers as much about your needs as possible.
- It takes a small village to build a boffo site:
- Print designers and web designers are not interchangeable.
- Developers are not the same as web designers.
- These folks may know a bit about SEO, but are not search engine optimization experts.
- None of these aforementioned peeps are marketing experts.
A good development firm will be able to bring these skills to the table, but if your budget is limited and you can’t work with a firm with all the expertise you need, make sure the people you hire consider these factors in your website. Be sure to assign one person from your company or organization the role of project manager of the site development and someone (perhaps the same person) as the content manager who regularly updates the site. If you have a small company, or you are a one person shop, that person might be you. Plan to either carve out a significant amount of time to oversee the development, and a bit of time every week or two to maintain the site, unless you plan to outsource those activities.
7. Don’t forget that you will have to keep the content fresh and up to date, so if you don’t have a big team, you may have to either pay someone, or find time in your schedule. Websites that are not maintained are a poor reflection on your company.