Early Learners and Digital Learning: Topic 1 of 3: Play-Based Technology Platforms and Early Learners

Despite the contentious state of American politics, the need for early learning is an issue receiving widespread bipartisan support. Here in New York, newly elected Mayor Bill De Blasio included a promise for universal preschool as part of his platform; Oklahoma was the first in the nation to pass a state funded preschool program that is now considered a model of quality education; and the White House’s early education statement starts with, “expanding access to high quality early childhood education is among the smartest investments that we can make.”

The support from all sides comes from almost universal acceptance of the positive outcomes that “high quality” early education delivers. The argument is in the details of what type of curriculum is considered high quality. In the upcoming system guided by Common Core Standards, the quality of a program will be determined by its effect on test scores. This fact is causing some teachers to reduce or eliminate play-based activities in favor of direct teaching as a means to “teach to the test.” Researchers and experts consider this an inappropriate trend that will harm students in the long run.

Play-based learning through technology platforms may bridge the gap between play advocates and those subject to test score scrutiny. The NCC Regional Innovations in Learning Team has released part 1 of 3 in a series on early digital learners. Play-Based Technology Platforms and Early Learners explores the literature around play-based learning, information and communications technologies, and play-based technology platforms and their ability to improve competency results.

Read the brief here and view the presentation here.

Eric Martin, Monique C. Morgan, Emily Rukobo, Regional Innovations in Learning Team

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