Teachers College Press

Blocks to Robots
Learning with Technology in the Early Childhood Classroom

Marina Umaschi Bers
Foreword by David Elkind
Pub Date: November 2007, 168 pages

Paperback: $29.95, ISBN: 0807748471
Cloth: $56, ISBN: 080774848X
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“I believe that this is a seminal work. . . . Marina Bers has provided both teachers and researchers with many new vistas onto the domain of early childhood teaching and research.”
—From the Foreword by David Elkind, Tufts University

“This book beautifully exemplifies constructionist pedagogy and practical applications to the classroom. Robotic blocks have become a new ‘tool of mind’ for thinking about thinking, as will this book itself.”
George E. Forman, Professor Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, President, Videatives, Inc.

“Is it better for young children to play with wooden building blocks or new electronic toys? Marina Bers cuts through this false dichotomy, presenting a compelling framework for using new technologies that builds upon the rich tradition of manipulative materials while opening exciting new learning opportunities.”
Mitchel Resnick, Professor of Learning Research, MIT Media Lab

Research shows that attitudes about science, math, and technology start to form during the early schooling years. This pioneering book shows how to successfully use technology in the early childhood classroom. Grounded in a constructivist approach to teaching and learning, the author focuses on robotic manipulatives that allow children to explore complex concepts in a concrete and fun way. At the same time, she examines how this technology engages sensorimotor and socioemotional skills, which are fundamental for the healthy development of young children. This innovative book:

  • Provides examples of how robotics can be a powerful, hands-on tool for young children to learn about science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
  • Presents portraits of children developing the skills and ways of thinking needed to be able to create their own personally meaningful projects, and to solve problems using technology.
  • Offers sample curriculum starter activities, including forms and charts that children can use to chronicle the progress of their projects.
  • Includes vignettes of diverse curricular experiences by teachers and researchers working in classrooms.

Marina Umaschi Bers is an assistant professor at the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development and an adjunct professor in the Computer Science Department at Tufts University. She received her PhD from the MIT Media Lab in 2001. In 2005, she received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientist and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor given by the US government to promising and groundbreaking investigators who are starting their independent careers.

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