Roundup: New Vision for Early Ed in the Digital World, Autism Diagnoses Rise & Social Impact Bonds


The digital world of iPads, e-books and ever-expanding types of screens is a reality in early education. Whatever teachers and parents think about the ubiquity of screen time, it isn’t going anywhere and there is a need for a plan.


An ambitious new report lays out a new framework to help them make a plan for the new digital world based on at least three Cs: content on the screen, context of use, and characteristics and age of an individual child.


The analysis is partly based on the idea that digital content is a double-edged sword. Studies have shown negative impacts among children from viewing content that wasn’t developed for them. But, screen time has also been associated with benefits in other research.


What makes screen time beneficial? The new report’s author and a leading expert on digital media and early learning, Lisa Guernsey, highlights those three Cs: content, context and characteristics.


Her report asks policymakers in Washington D.C. and around the nation who are redesigning early education to include digital media and its potential in their work.


“(E)ducators and policymakers should seize the chance to bend the technology marketplace toward the needs of educators and families, enabling new connections to resources, new materials for use in the classroom, new tools of communication, and new partnerships for cost-savings, not to mention collaboration and creativity. As states and communities create new systems by connecting once-siloed programs and raising standards, they should recognize that they are building for the digital age.

“Envisioning a Digital Age Architecture For Early Education.” March, 2014. New America Foundation.

The report goes beyond the three Cs and highlights five core actions that can leverage benefits of technology in child care, preschool and pre-kindergarten, and address its challenges:


  • Aim high
  • Boost the workforce
  • Tap hidden assets
  • Connect to information and each other
  • Investigate


Learn more about how to use these ideas in the full report.


There has been a wave of interesting research recently. Here are a few highlights:


  • Kindergarten assessment tests are on the rise, Early Years reports.

    More than half of the states and the District of Columbia now require children to take kindergarten entrance assessments, a trend that continues to grow, the Denver-based Education Commission of the States reports.


  • The rate of autism diagnosis is rising, with 1 of 68 identified with the disorder, the Centers for Disease Control found. Check out CDC’s “10 Things to Know About New Autism Data.” The importance of early intervention and higher rates of diagnosis will effect early education. This week, for example, Child Care Resources in Washington announced a new program designed to make it easier for families with a child on the autism spectrum to access high-quality child care.

  • Don’t miss Early Ed Watch’s overview of social impact bonds in early education, and a new report exploring the issue in “Pre-K’s Wave of the Future?”




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