Integrating Technology in Early Literacy

A Snapshot of Community Innovation in Family Engagement
Policy Paper
Aug. 2, 2016

As a growing number of young children across the country are using media and interactive technology on a daily basis, the conversation has shifted from whether technology is appropriate to use at all to how it should be used to best support children’s early language and literacy development.

A new brief released today, Integrating Technology in Early Literacy: A Snapshot of Community Innovation in Family Engagement, analyzes the impact of early learning and family engagement programs around the country. In conjunction with the release of this brief, the Integrating Technology in Early Literacy (InTEL)  map, available through New America’s Atlas tool,  has been updated to show where innovative programs are located, how the programs are designed, and what “evidence of impact” they are able to share. 

“Evidence of impact” refers to what role a technological intervention has in improving child outcomes, adult behaviors in interacting with children, or teacher practice. The programs were assigned the categories strong, promising, emerging and developing based on this criteria.

intel-evidence of impact

Based on programs with the strongest evidence of effectiveness, the following policy recommendations were made to help ensure success for children and families:

  • Add assessments that examine whether and to what degree families are experiencing disparities in digital access.

  • Create new channels for communication and resource-sharing between public libraries, public media outlets, school districts, and publicly-funded institutions.

  • Fund independent and peer-reviewed research about what works and what does not in the digital media and literacy learning arena.

  • Use grant programs and federally-funded competitions to support organizations that are working to create digital teachers and media mentors.

  • Map and track innovation emerging from states and communities.