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Graduate Program (MA)

Early Childhood Technology Certificate

Program Purpose

The Early Childhood Technology (ECT) 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. In addition to teachers who work in formal school settings, there are 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) at the student's own pace in order to allow participants across the U.S. and the world to increase their confidence teaching with and through 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 four-course curriculum (three online and one culminating on-campus course) is designed to develop participants' content knowledge and skills in technology and engineering with a developmentally appropriate focus, as well as to 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 three 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. The required courses include an introduction to early childhood education (Online Seminar in Early Childhood Education) and a foundational course on educational technology (Online Seminar on Technological Tools for Playful Learning). Completing the required courses will provide a backbone for students to explore their own interests. For the third course, students choose between two electives: the Online Seminar on Social and Emotional Development in Schools or the Online Seminar on Designing Educational 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 and complete guided observations in a supervised setting. This summit also allows students to build connections with their certificate program cohort.

Sample Student Schedule

Fall

1) Online Seminar on Technological Tools for Playful Learning

2) Online Seminar on Early Childhood Education

Spring

3) Online Seminar is Social and Emotional Development in Schools

Summer

4) Early Childhood Technology Summit (on-campus)

Apply

For more information on applying please visit the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences website.

Questions? Contact certificates@tufts.edu