The Early Childhood Technology (ECT) graduate certificate program is designed for educators and practitioners working with young children in pre-kindergarten through second grade in diverse educational settings. Despite the national push to make technology and engineering a priority in early childhood education, research indicates that few teachers have a background that prepares them to adequately achieve this. There are also a growing number of practitioners and professionals working with young children in informal educational settings such as museums, libraries, day cares, camps, maker-spaces, after school programs and other learning environments, who are feeling an increased need to integrate technology into their work with young children. The ECT certificate program is designed to meet the needs of these busy professionals by offering a blended program that is completed predominantly online (with only one on-campus requirement) in order to allow participants across the U.S. and the world to increase their confidence teaching with and through innovative new technologies.
Scope of Coursework
The program philosophy is inspired by over a decade and a half of research on early childhood technology by the DevTech Research Group, led by Professor Marina Umaschi Bers. Through the content courses students will have hands-on experience with using developmentally appropriate robotics kits, computer programming apps, engineering and building activities, and more. Students will explore the use of educational technology for young children in maker-spaces and other informal learning environments.
The three-course curriculum (two online and a culminating on-campus one-week residency course) is designed to develop participants' content knowledge and skills in technology and engineering with a focus on early childhood (pre-kindergarten to second grade). Additionally, it will develop their teaching practices and assessment methods, and their understanding of young student learning. Participants who complete the program will be prepared to implement high quality technology and engineering activities in diverse learning environments including classrooms, museums, daycares, after school programs, maker spaces, libraries and more. They will leave the program with a deep knowledge of progressive pedagogical approaches to early childhood technology education and with a solid foundation of how to integrate these content areas into the curriculum in a developmentally appropriate way that integrates playful learning. Finally, they will have been exposed to a variety of cutting-edge materials and equipment for engaging young children in technology and engineering education.
The first two courses in the program are completed online and the final course is completed in-person at Tufts University over the course of one intensive week of work in the summer. The required courses include a foundational course on educational technology (CSHD:145 Online Seminar on Technological Tools for Playful Learning) and a course on implementing educational technology in different learning settings (CSHD:143 Designing Educational & Technological Environments for Children).
Finally, the program culminates with a one-week on-campus Early Childhood Technology Summit; the last required class. This intensive summit allows students to spend one week working with program faculty from the DevTech Research Group and exploring curriculum development with educational technologies. During this time, students will also get to work hands-on with children, implementing curricular experiences at the Eliot-Pearson Children's School in a supervised setting. This residency also allows students to network and build connections with their certificate program cohort as well as others from the EdTech community.
1) Online Seminar on Technological Tools for Playful Learning
2) Online Seminar in Designing Educational & Technological Environments for Children
3) Early Childhood Technology Summit (on-campus)
"The online hybrid of ECT worked well. I had time to go at my own pace and my own time zone. For other teachers around the world, this should open up an experience for you to learn from some of the best and see what kind of new technologies there are, especially within the early childhood years."
— Greg Lemoine, Teacher
"I am definitely more interested (and capable!) of integrating engineering and STEM into my lessons. I am excited to use everything from the ECT program and know that my curriculum design will be stronger because I participated in this program."
— DeeDee Devore, First Grade Teacher & STEM Liason
"This program gave me the pedagogy and the philosophy to grow as a teacher. It helped me develop lesson plans and provided me the structure to implement technology, robots, coding and other activities into my classroom in a developmentally appropriate way."
— Mike Terburg, Library Technology Specialist
"I will now be attending graduate school to further study technology in education, and I attribute this desire to learn more to ECT!"
— Hannah Boston, Graduate Student in Harvard University's Technology, Innovation, and Education program