NAEYC: Tech on Deck
After a morning of traveling from Connecticut to Georgia, Laura and I were happy to arrive to our hotel room. After we settled in and had a nice lunch, we quickly checked out the room that we will present our seminar in tomorrow morning. We are so excited to be part of this amazing conference. Tonight, Laura and I attended our first Annual NAEYC Conference seminar; actually it was a “networking playground.” “Tech on Deck” gave us the opportunity to talk with technology experts about the latest innovations in using early childhood technology. A variety of round table discussions were offered including Social Media, Using iPads for Multimedia Creation, Online Professional Development, and Software Systems for administrators. We sat with Faith Rogow for a bit to discuss and learn ways to incorporate “Digital Literacy”into the classroom. Faith, a consultant for the National Association of Media Literacy Education, stressed the importance helping children understand the process of using technology and creating with the use of technology despite devices changing and evolving. Educators can help children learn these important skills by vocalizing the process when assisting, teaching, or modeling use of technology. Faith was able to offer Laura and I some great pointers when it comes to using Smartboards in the classroom. Our center has installed Smartboards in two preschool classrooms and we are looking for ways to help our teachers use the technology in an intentional and meaningful way. Faith suggested that the teachers look at their students and assess how students can possible benefit from digital literacy. She suggested that reading a story on a Smartboards may be better for a child who may have trouble sitting for story time. A great way for teachers to become more comfortable with new technology is to seek out activities that individual children can benefit from. After we talked with Faith, we chatted with John Williams, a representative from follettearlylearning.com. This site provides schools with a variety of ebooks. They have many options for schools, some subscriber based and some options which allow a school to purchase ebooks at an affordable cost (between $30-$40 per ebook). When purchasing an ebook, a school can have unlimited access to the title and the ebook can be accessed by multiple Smartboards /classrooms at the same time. Their variety of titles was impressive; they have number of publishers providing wonderful themes, titles, and intentional lessons. Some ebook titles incorporate narration with words bolded as they are being read, which Laura and I loved! Many titles also included games, printable worksheets, family follow-up activities, and project ideas. We also loved the fact that parents can access the ebooks at home with their children. Overall it was wonderful to see all the amazing software, apps, and online support being offered to early childhood educators. There are many organizations and businesses busy creating technology that is intentional and meaningful for young children which is very exciting! You can check out ALL the conference photos and follow along with us throughout the week on our Facebook page!