What Does Children’s Obsession With Technology Tell Us

Today's technology may be meeting some of the same childhood needs as those of earlier generations. The desire to be an expert at something, to have a space to themselves, and to engage with peers are all things we wanted as children, too. Each new advancement in media technology brings us waves of excitement and angst. Smartphones and tablets are ruining childhood....

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Protecting Children From Extreme Screen Violence

Last week, my wife and I were enjoying coffee in our local diner when we spotted a group of four children huddled around their father’s iPhone. A boy, about 8 years old, looked up, intently studying one of the big TV screens over his table, just as one of the commentators rehashed the details of the latest beheading. You could clearly...

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Bringing Technology to the Sandbox

Young children learn best from active engagement with their world and the people in it—through exploration, experience, and discovery. That’s why preschool classrooms have long been filled with water tables and sandboxes. Pouring water through a funnel, building a sand castle, or touching a butterfly wing helps young kids test theories about the physical world. And learning to navigate the...

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Six Questions for the EdTech Field to Think About When Designing for the 0 to 8 Set

When studying media for early learning, researchers must keep equity at the forefront, says Shelley Pasnik. Pasnik, director of the Center for Children and Technology, was one of a group of media creators, scholars, and educators who met in Pittsburgh in early June for the 2014 Fred Forward Conference. Experts discussed how to help children build consistent, positive, and meaningful connections...

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The Teachers’ Innovation Project

In Melissa Butler’s kindergarten classroom at Pittsburgh Allegheny, an elementary school on the city’s north side, 5-year-olds are learning about simple circuits and electricity. The children examine the circuit parts, take them apart carefully, and notice each component. They sketch the technology from different angles. They discuss what they see with their teachers and their friends. This classroom is part of a...

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Back to School With the Maker Movement

My 5-year-old spent the summer getting very messy. When I picked her up at preschool one day in July, she was barefoot, shirtless, and covered in mud from head to toe. She and three friends had been building a mountain in their school’s play yard. Their materials: rocks, gold paint, feathers, and lots of good old-fashioned mud. That was one of...

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What Really Counts in the “Word Gap Count”?

Fred Rogers understood that early language development is important for a child’s ability to relate to the world and the people in it. Fred believed words help children better understand and manage their “inner drama.”  “What is mentionable is more manageable,” he would often say. Fred also understood that conversation between child and adult is critical for children’s intellectual and emotional...

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