Promoting early learning through the support and empowerment of families—especially those who are under-resourced—has become an imperative for education leaders nationwide. In 2014, New America published Envisioning a Digital Age Architecture for Early Education to help leaders visualize success in this media-infused environment.
Since then, New America and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop have joined forces to document initiatives that use digital tools to connect with vulnerable families and improve educational outcomes. Interactive tools such as on-demand video and text messaging are being used 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 digital tools for learning.
But so far, these efforts are sporadic and fragile. Very few are fully sustainable or ready to scale up. Leaders need a plan and relevant resources. Our hope is that this interactive toolkit will help to generate that planning.
This toolkit is currently in its beginning stages; we will be adding resources and subsections for a more comprehensive publication in Spring 2018. One resource, for example, is our interactive map of innovative programs in localities around the country; we are now in the process of updating that map, based on a survey we are conducting through the end of 2017. (Take the survey here.) We want to create resources that will meet your needs. If you have suggestions for resources, please email all requests here.