Laura is Associate Professor of Education at Neumann University in Aston, PA where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses, serves on doctoral committees, and coordinates and advises graduate students. Her research interests are in the area of teacher and faculty development, instructional coaching, culturally responsive teaching, collaboration, and educational technology. She is a consultant for CIE Advising https://cieadvising.com/
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Stephanie has 9 years PK-16 teaching experience, and is in her fourth year as an assistant professor at Neumann University, serving also as the director of graduate education in the Education division. Dr. Budhai holds a Ph.D. in Learning Technologies from Drexel University, a M.Ed in Counseling and Personnel Services from the University of Maryland College Park, and a B.S.Ed. in Elementary and Special Education from Temple University. She also holds teaching certifications through the Pennsylvania Department of Education in PK-12 Instructional Technology, PK-12 Special Education, and K-6 Elementary Education, as well as the Pennsylvania Quality Assurance System (PQAS) and Quality Matters Peer Reviewer Online Course certifications. Dr. Budhai become interested in educational technology integration while studying Learning Technologies at Drexel University and completing her internship at a PK-8 independent school for her Instructional Technology Specialist certification. Dr. Budhai is also on the Leadership Team of the Pennsylvania Association for Educational Communications and Technology.
This book came about from multiple opportunities of working with teachers, administrators and preservice teachers, and recognizing the importance of not only fostering innovation and creativity in young learners but engaging families and the communities in the process. The earlier we encourage children to think creatively and to innovate, the more natural this mindset will become. In order to effectively foster creativity and innovation in young learners, we need the support and buy-in of families and our communities. This book will focus on Pre-K-4th grade, although much of what we discuss in the book can be applied to younger or older learners. We believe that creativity and innovation should begin at home, in early learning centers, and in our communities even before children enter kindergarten, which is also why this connection between home, school and the community is so applicable to this topic.
Both authors have the combined experience of working with young learners and their families as teachers, administrators, and now teacher educators, and believe that with the evidenced outcomes of encouraging innovation and creativity in older students, young learners can benefit from it as well. This book aims to address this and provides ideas and resources for teachers to embed these concepts into the early childhood curriculum. We believe teachers learn best from each other; however, finding the time to collaborate can be challenging. We hope this book provides a forum for discussion and a convenient way to explore this topic and put the ideas to use in your own schools and/or classrooms. Within this book, we share experiences we have had working to support early learners and families to become innovators and creators. We also share the stories of others we have collected while writing this book.