I was excited to attend this year’s Early Education and Technology for Children conference in Salt Lake City. The conference served to validate the power of the iPad in the classroom, and Brian Vanaski and I were excited to demonstrate and get feedback on HiDef’s My Story App for the iPad.
The format for the conference, put on by the Waterford Institute, was both engaging and informative, allowing attendees to choose from topics from either a research or application track. The sessions ranged from engaging and informative Keynote speakers like Brad Wilcox and Michael Levine, to the highly entertaining “App Dance” with Warren Buckleitner, which had the audience parading around the room with their iPads on display while dancing an Irish Jig. True to its name, the conference had a heavy technology emphasis and the iPad was without question the most talked about. I was impressed that there was even active conversation taking place on Twitter (#EETCconf) that made quick work of my iPhone battery each day.
The sessions were not only a great way to get the word out about My Story, but also to learn about the terminology and research in use in the field. It was great to hear concepts like pedagogical design broken down in the context of iPad apps by Kate Highfield, and Louise Flanneryexplaining Piaget’s theory of cognitive development as applied to programming robots. We also got some great hands-on feedback from teachers about My Story and are looking forward to integrating our new knowledge into the creative process for the app. Of course, seeing live usability sessions at Waterford Institute was quite a learning experience as well.
The integration of technology into the educational experience is certainly nothing new, but the EETC Conference is happening at an exciting time where the availability of the technology is accelerating, and the role it plays is changing. We’re excited to be a part of the early education technology community (#EETC) and looking forward to next year’s event.