STEM Superstars in early childhood education

Sixty accomplished women in science, technology, engineering and maths and technology have been announced as Australia’s newest Superstars of STEM.

The Superstars of STEM program, supported by the Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, sets out to smash traditional stereotypes of scientists, engineers and mathematicians. The program provides women in these fields with training in media and a platform to share their research with the broader community.

ECA congratulates all of the participants chosen for the 2021-2022 program, in particular Dr Holly Tootell, as ECA will be working closely with her to link her research to early childhood education. Holly currently explores meaningful ways to understand both the adult and child perspectives in Information Technology (IT) research. She is interested in learning how the relationships between educators and families/carers can support children to be participants in technology design processes.

Her main research topic is on human-computer interaction methods, and how we can adapt them to be meaningful to pre-school age children. She says most technology-based research engages with children aged six years and above, and that we know little about how children under the age of six engage with technology design processes.

‘I come from an Information Technology background, and there is not a lot of focus on young children in this field of work. As a mother, I was curious about how my children made choices about the technology they engaged with; that was the start of this exciting, and inspiring area of work.’

Holly is constantly learning and shaping her understanding of the voice of both educators and children in her research field. She says it’s important that there are ‘advocates for both children, as users of technology, and educators, as technology providers.’

Holly’s work aligns with the ECA Statement on young children and digital technologies, in that her research acknowledges and encourages children to be active participants in their community and future. She also says, it ‘highlights the importance of relationships that young children have with adults and peers as we seek to understand their views and opinions as technology designers.’

Congratulations Holly! ECA is very excited to work with you and to see your research come to progresses.


ECA Recommends

STEM in early childhood education

By Marianne Knaus and Pauline Roberts

In this edition of the Research in Practice Series, we explore the integrated learning approach focusing on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The book will help educators in the early childhood sector to understand the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of STEM and to learn how to implement hands-on, inquiry-based pedagogies within the STEM disciplines for young children. Purchase your copy here on the ECA Shop.

Early Childhood Australia

Early Childhood Australia (ECA) has been a voice for young children since 1938. We are the peak early childhood advocacy organisation, acting in the interests of young children, their families and those in the early childhood field. ECA advocates to ensure quality, social justice and equity in all issues relating to the education and care of children aged birth to eight years.

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