Young Learner’s Guide to Tech

In today’s digital world, learning has found new paths with the advanced development of media and technology. There is a lot of the excitement about the power of technology for learning with a focus on apps and games, but what do we really know about the effectiveness of media and technology on young children?  How are they spending their time? And, even with lots of tech, what are low tech (or maybe even no tech) ideas that help children create and develop critical 21st century skills?  Simply, what is age-appropriate?


In partnership with Carlow University and Avonworth Primary Center, join us Saturday, March 30, 2019 from 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at Avonworth Primary Center for a day of professional development and explore how we, as early childhood educators, after-school providers, and families can harness the good that comes from the advances made in media and technology for young children. The day features Jennifer Ehehalt, Pittsburgh Regional Manager at Common Sense Media, highlighting the findings in their research report The Common Sense Census: Media Use by Kids Age Zero to Eight, along with a panel discussion and audience Q&A. Then, attendees will participate in a hands-on workshop and an open session to interact with various displays, technology and media. After you register, we will email you for your workshop preferences.

Registration Now Closed

Please email Yu-Ling at for more information.

What do I receive?

  • Four hours of PQAS/DHS credits and/or Act 48
  • Light breakfast and lunch
  • Networking with colleagues
  • Hands-on, interactive workshop sessions
  • Refreshed or refined thinking about our work with young children
  • Copy of Common Sense Media report: The Common Sense Census: Media Use by Kids Age Zero to Eight

Refund policy

Attendees can receive refunds if requested thirty (30) days in advance of the UnConference date. Please email Yu-Ling at


Please contact event planner Yu-Ling Cheng at or call 412-421-3889. For bus information, please visit for specific route information. If you need assistance with transportation to Avonworth Primary Center, please email us.

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Workshop Descriptions

Building 21st Century Skills Through Play, Critical Thinking, and Creative Inquiry

Presented by: Rae Ann Hirsh, Carlow University

Recommended for: Pre-K Educators (but anyone is welcome to attend)

This hands-on workshop will allow participants to take a closer look at play materials in a way that guides them to think about each item from the inside out. They will be given tech materials, including iPads and cell phones, and challenged to explore ‘how” the technology works. Participants will work through the beginnings of tech fluency, which takes a closer look at how it works and more importantly, how it can work in the participant’s classroom. Using circuit building materials, participants will attempt to recreate the makings of the technology pieces that will lead them to a deeper understanding of how their students can explore and learn using the same process.

Tech x Early Learning

Presented by: Will Tolliver, Jr., Carolyn Myron, and Molly Dickerson, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh

Recommended for: Infant/Toddler Educators (but anyone is welcome to attend)

Join the Early Childhood Learning team from the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh as we share how we intentionally use, share, and view technology with our youngest learners and their caretakers. In this session, participants will get a glimpse into the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh’s philosophy, programming, and general approach to exploring technology with infants and toddlers. Educators will engage with hands-on activities and experiences that will leave them inspired and catalyzed to intentionally integrate technology into their practice. Come play, tinker, and discover with us!

Making, Literature, and Technology Connections

Presented by: Maureen Frew, Avonworth Primary Center

Recommended for: School Age Educators (but anyone is welcome to attend)

In this session, you will see how to connect a language arts lesson with making and technology. We will begin by reading a book that will inspire a making activity where we take a small fan apart and put it back together. Through technology, we will document the process using stop motion animation. Connections and hands-on learning are so important to our students and you will see that it can easily be done.

Thank You To Our Sponsors and Partners

A huge thank you to our: co-hosts, Carlow University and Avonworth Primary Center, series sponsor PNC Grow Up Great and sponsor Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL)*, and to our workshop partners!

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*Funding for this conference was made possible (in part) by the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL). The views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of OCDEL; nor does mention by trade names, commercial practice or organization imply endorsement by the Commonwealth.


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About Jennifer Ehehalt

Jennifer Ehehalt is the Pittsburgh Regional Manager at Common Sense Education. She is responsible for helping several local school districts build a culture of digital citizenship among educators, students, and their families. She designs and delivers professional development for PreK-12 educators that focuses on the implementation of Common Sense’s K-12 digital citizenship resources along with how to integrate technology into the classroom. Through her work, she has had the opportunity to share best practices by presenting at ISTE, ASCD, PETE & C, TRETC,  ICE Illinois, and GAETC.

About Trying Together

Trying Together supports high-quality care and education for young children by providing advocacy, community resources, and professional growth opportunities for the needs and rights of children, their families, and the individuals who interact with them. Trying Together works regionally (in Southwestern Pennsylvania) and takes its expertise and models to statewide and national audiences.

About Carlow University

Carlow University was established in 1929 as Mount Mercy College by the Sisters of Mercy to provide higher education to young Catholic women. Carlow‘s commitment has always been to prepare students academically and ethically for competent leadership and compassionate service in personal and professional life.   The student population is culturally diverse and comprised of traditional and nontraditional students.  Carlow’s Education Programs offer a wide variety of programs including Early Childhood, Special Education and Non-Traditional Tracks.

About Avonworth Primary Center

Avonworth Primary Center (APC) educates 450 students in grades K-2 as part of the Avonworth School District, located in northern Allegheny County.  It is committed to infusing creativity and innovation into the educational programming that supports the District’s mission to “empower students through authentic experiences to become creative, innovative thinkers.” APC is a regional leader in maker education, kindergarten transition, and personalized learning.

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