SXSWedu, Here We Come!

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Looking for reasons to attend the upcoming SXSWedu – March 9-12, 2015? NGPM will be represented for the second year running! Since last year, this work has led to the Early Math with Gracie and FriendsTM suite of pre-k apps, one of two cornerstone projects of the brand new First 8 Studios.

WGBH’s Christine Zanchi, SRI’s Phil Vahey, and EDC’s Shelley Pasnik will present a panel: Building the Research Base for STEM Apps in PreK. We’re so excited to once again share our work and meet other presenters and attendees!

Why we do what we do.

As we work hard to put the final touches on the subitizing app suite, we wanted to take a moment and reflect on why we do what we do, and why all of the hard work is worth it.

Lessons Learned at the Head Start Conference

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We’ve been reflecting on the experiences Christine Zanchi and Ashley Lewis-Presser had at Head Start’s 12th National Research Conference on Early Childhood!

Here are a few takeaways:

  • Many early childhood professionals appreciated the NGPM approach to integrating technology into preschool curricula:
    • Aim for technology activities to span 10-15 minute sessions,
    • Maintain a high ratio of traditional to tech-based activities, and
    • Focus on iPad uses that take advantage of the tablet’s unique capabilities.
  • An important element for technology developers to share with the community is a reflection on the design process that led, through many twisting turns, to the current technology and curriculum designs. The field of educational technology is evolving significantly. We all benefit from reflecting on the lessons learned throughout the process of designing new technologies and studying their use in classrooms.
  • So many interesting and connected questions come up!
    • How can our curriculum be adapted to work in different preschool settings, e.g. morning-only versus all-day programs?
    • What would a math curriculum look like, fully integrated with science or another topic? How would we preserve the richness of both domains?
  • The technology provides a tool, one which is perhaps unfamiliar to many teachers and which is certainly changing rapidly. For early educational technologies to be effective, teachers need to be well trained in developmentally appropriate uses of technology. Technology designers and other players in the education arena must make sure that high-quality, sustained opportunities for professional development exist to support teachers.

NGPM can’t wait for next year’s conference!

NGPM at Head Start’s Conference on Early Childhood

Starting today, two of NGPM’s three co-PIs will be attending Head Start’s 12th National Research Conference on Early Childhood. Christine Zanchi and Ashley Lewis-Presser are looking forward to contributing thoughts and perspectives from nearly three years of work on NGPM at Tuesday’s poster symposium on Innovations in Early Childhood STEM Curriculum and Professional Development! See all the details here!

Ashley Lewis-Presser talking with conference attendees about NGPM. Ashley Lewis-Presser talking with conference attendees about NGPM.

Nurtury Learning Lab plays NGPM games

It was definitely a day of celebration as some of the NGPM team visited the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Nurtury Learning Lab in Jamaica Plain, MA. Check out the video from the Boston Herald!

The Mayor of Boston also attended, stating, “All children should have access to the best learning and school readiness opportunities we can provide. The Nurtury Learning Lab at Bromley-Heath is a great example of a service that will greatly impact children’s lives and start them on a path for success.”

The NGPM team brought our subitizing and equipartitioning games so that children could play and learn in their new media room at the Nurtury. What an inspiring play time!

Children clapped at their subitizing successes!

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We got to watch children think and observe teachers doing what they do best!

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And we promised that we’d bring the iPads back the next time we came…

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It was a beautiful and symbolic day for our children’s education!

See more photos of the event from the Jamaica Plain News.

NGPM at Fred Forward

Last week NGPM Executive Producer Christine Zanchi attended the Fred Forward Conference, a national conference hosted by the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media in Pittsburgh, PA.

Invigorated by the conference, Christine says, “I think it’s awesome that the industry is turning its attention to research as a critical part in the development of children’s media — especially from where we stand as public media. We really care about true educational impact, and iterative design-based research gets us there.”