Science Pub Portland: Technology & Early Childhood Education

AUG 16 | 7-9PM

Melding Digital and Tangible Toys to Support Creative Play for Preschoolers

With Erik Nilsen, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychology at Lewis & Clark College

Doors Open @ 5PM | $5 Suggested Donation

Educational research tells us that manipulating physical objects is essential to early childhood development. There is also an explosion in the use of digital technology for early childhood education.  For the past two years we have been studying preschoolers playing with an iPad app called Tiggly Draw. It combines the use of physical shapes and digital technology to teach preschoolers basic shape recognition and to support creative play.  The results suggest that combining digital and tangible play has a positive synergistic effect and highlights the role that parent-child co-play has on children's learning.  We will also explore other examples of "tangible technology" as a promising new approach to move kids of all ages beyond "screens" to learning about the real world with computer-based toys.


Erik Nilsen is an associate professor of Psychology at Lewis & Clark College. He obtained his PhD. in Cognitive Psychology at the University of Michigan with a Fellowship from NASA focusing on Cognitive Models of Human Computer Interaction. His current research interests are in studying the use of computer games for prosocial purposes. He has published widely in Psychology and Computer Science journals and conference venues with an emphasis on involving undergraduates and even high schoolers as research collaborators. This talk highlights a 4 year collaboration with OMSI on an NSF funded project called Living Laboratories.

Dinner will be available in our restaurant, Theory, or from the Empirical Café. Guests can check-in at the theater entrance to reserve a seat before grabbing dinner and drinks. Food and drink are welcome in the theater. Parking is free for the event.


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