In this virtual convening, Dr. Osnat Zur and Dr. Faith Polk, Senior Program Associates from WestEd, began with a review of the benefits and challenges of using technology and interactive media to support children’s learning. They continued with an exploration – featuring photographs of real-world early learning environments – of ways educators are using technology to support early learning in specific domains. Finally, the presenters offered ed tech developers key considerations for creating developmentally appropriate technology to enhance early learning experiences.

Dr. Osnat Zur is a Senior Program Associate with the Center for Child & Family Studies at WestEd. She serves as Project Director of WestEd’s partnership at the National Center for Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning. Prior to her Project Director role at the national center, Zur had been leading content development for PD2GO, a collection of professional development modules developed for First 5 California designed to support continuous improvement in early childhood programs. Previously at WestEd, Zur served as the lead researcher and author for the California preschool foundations in the domain of science, and for the state’s preschool curriculum framework in mathematics and in science. She also developed assessment measures in cognitive development — math and science —for the Desired Results Developmental Profile instrument and for other school readiness instruments.

Dr. Faith Polk is a Senior Program Associate in the Center for Child and Family Studies at WestEd. Dr. Polk collaborates with the content development and training team at the National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning, an Office of Head Start funded project, to support the implementation of evidence-based teaching practices that contribute to positive child outcomes. Her areas of expertise include early childhood educator preparation and workforce development, Dual Language Learners, child assessment and emergent literacy development. Prior to joining WestEd, Dr. Polk, a former National Board Certified Teacher (Early Childhood/Generalist), was an Associate Professor and Chair of Early Childhood Education, a California Preschool Instructional Network Lead and a Program Specialist for the Pre-Intern Teacher Program. She began her career as a kindergarten teacher where she grew her passion for both early care and education and teacher preparation.

Note: NewSchools Ed Tech virtual convenings are developed and shared with ventures as part of our virtual accelerator program. When possible, we also make recordings of these presentations available to the broader ed tech community.