Promoting early learning through the support and empowerment of families—especially those who are under-resourced—has become an imperative for education leaders nationwide. New America and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop have joined forces to document initiatives that use technology to connect with vulnerable families and improve educational outcomes.
Program leaders are using interactive tools such as on-demand video and text messaging to inspire and reassure parents, to share learning materials between formal and informal settings, and to bring parents closer to their children’s learning. Some communities are also taking steps to prepare educators as media mentors to help families and children be choosy about media and learn how to use technology for learning.
But so far, these efforts are sporadic and fragile. Very few are fully sustainable, proven, or ready to scale up. Leaders need a plan, using relevant resources. New America and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center have developed this interactive toolkit, which is a compilation of resources from early learning and family engagement organizations, that is designed to help inform community leaders’ thinking as they develop and improve new and existing programs. In addition to the interactive toolkit for community leaders, New America and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop have developed a project called Integrating Technology in Early Literacy (InTEL), which collected information through two surveys. The aim is to create data visualization tools that highlight early learning and family engagement programs in the United States that have integrated technology to meet the needs of young children and families.