This report from the RAND Corporation identifies goals for technology use in early education. The information is based on findings from a literature review and a May forum that RAND hosted on the topic. The authors say that trends in US education suggest that young children may need to achieve basic digital literacy before starting kindergarten (Year 1), and the presence of a digital divide suggests that children from low-income families may need the most support to ensure readiness in digital literacy (see the previous story for research on technology for at-risk pupils). Based on their research, the authors present the following recommendations:
Technology is one of many tools: When technology is used as one tool in a larger toolbox, it can provide the greatest benefits while continuing to allow for the use of other learning tools and activities when they are likely to be most effective in supporting skill growth.
Support school readiness in digital literacy: With increasing standards for technology use in US elementary schools, forum experts agreed that all children, particularly those from deprived families, could benefit from acquiring basic technology literacy skills in early childhood education (ECE) settings to ensure readiness for technology use in the classroom.
Help narrow the digital divide: Technology use in ECE settings has the potential to address both aspects of the digital divide: access and use. In ECE settings, children from low-income families can access technology that is not available in the home, and they can be taught to use technology in ways that are more likely to result in skill growth and learning, thereby addressing disparities in use.
Expand resources for providers and families: Goals for technology use in ECE settings need not focus exclusively on use among children, as there are many ways that technology can be used to support providers and families as they, in turn, support the education of young children.
Source: Getting on the Same Page: Identifying Goals for Technology Use in Early Childhood Education (2014), RAND Corporation.