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Technology and the Future of Preschool: Developmentally Appropriate and Evidence-Based Approaches to Integrating Technology in the Classroom

Presenters: Phil Vahey, Ximena Domínguez, and Ashley Lewis Presser
Next Generation Preschool Math (NGPM) is an NSF-funded project addressing the following questions: (1) What, if any, are the most appropriate roles for technology in the preschool classroom? (2) How can technology, if used appropriately, provide unique affordances for teaching and early learning? The presenters discuss how their curriculum activity system framework guides their evidence-based design process, presents evidence of children’s learning, and talks about how the materials were used in the classroom. Recommendations for using the design approach more generally are also discussed.

Phil Vahey, Director of Mathematics Learning Systems, SRI International
Phil Vahey has an established track record in leading large-scale design efforts that integrate technology into preK–12 mathematics education, as well as significant experience evaluating preK–12 mathematics programs. Vahey is co-principal investigator on the NSF-funded Next Generation Preschool Math project, which is designing tablet-based media resources for use in preschool classrooms. He also leads the Cornerstone Mathematics and SunBay Mathematics programs, which are integrating Web-based resources into middle school mathematics classes in England and Florida. Both projects are using technology to meet new, rigorous standards that include mathematical practices. In the past, Vahey was senior research scientist on a Department of Education study to evaluate the relative effects of math curricula that show promise for improving math achievement in the early elementary school years. He was also a principal investigator or co- principal investigator on NSF-funded projects to increase students’ data literacy through the use of cross-disciplinary curriculum materials. Vahey holds a master’s and doctoral degree in Education from the University of California, Berkeley. His dissertation, which won Outstanding Dissertation of the Year, investigated the use of technology-based simulation software to teach probability to middle school students.

Ximena Domínguez, Senior Research Scientist, SRI International
Ximena Domínguez’s research examines child-level factors and classroom-level processes that influence young children’s learning behavior and science and math readiness. At SRI, she leads the Early Science Task Force and co-leads the Approaches to Learning Task Force for the Head Start National Center for Quality Teaching and Learning (NCQTL). She and her team have conducted reviews of evidence-based early childhood practices and are engaged in the development of an evidence-based mathematics and science higher education course and an approaches to learning course for early childhood staff. In addition, Domínguez co-leads the evaluation of a preK–3 mathematics professional development program developed by the Erikson Institute. She is a senior researcher for the NSF-funded Next Generation Preschool Math (NGPM) project, and the USDOE-funded LENS on Science project. She recently received NSF funding for Next Generation Preschool Science to develop an early science curriculum supplement that integrates technology in developmentally appropriate ways, and U.S. Department of Education funding for ENFOQUE en Ciencia to develop a science assessment for dual-language learners. Prior to joining SRI, Domínguez led several school readiness research initiatives in Florida. Domínguez recently received the Article of the Year Award by the Journal of School Psychology. She currently serves as an editorial board member for the Journal of School Psychology and a reviewer for Early Childhood Research Quarterly. Domínguez received her BA in Psychology and her MEd in Human Development from the University of Pennsylvania. She also received her MS and PhD in Applied Development Psychology from the University of Miami.

Ashley Lewis Presser, Senior Research Associate, Education Development Center, Inc.
Ashley Lewis Presser is a senior research associate at the Center for Children and Technology at Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC). Her work focuses primarily on research and development related to early childhood, mathematics, and science. Her projects cover a wide range that includes research-infused development of curriculum materials and tablet games for preschool mathematics, evaluation of STEM programs, and quasi-experimental and randomized controlled experiments. Lewis Presser is currently the principal investigator for the Next Generation Preschool Math Project, an NSF-funded project that designs preschool math units that integrate tablet-based games with supporting classroom resources to promote young children’s learning. In July 2013, she had the honor of being accepted to the Institute for Education Science’s Summer Research Training Institute on Cluster Randomized Trials. Lewis Presser holds a master’s and a doctoral degree in Educational Psychology from the University of Minnesota and a BS in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.