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Digital Learning for the Younger Set

Written by Elyse Eidman-Aadahl
June 01, 2012

Across the nation and the political spectrum, Americans are calling for dramatic improvement of public education. At the same time, the country is in an era of scarce funding for new initiatives. In this context, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center released its Take a Giant Step report which identifies a timely opportunity and challenge: By integrating emerging digital technologies into education and lifelong learning for all professionals, beginning with teachers of children aged 3 through 8, we can establish a cost-effective and productive pathway for learning in the 21st century.

Across the nation and the political spectrum, Americans are calling for dramatic improvement of public education. At the same time, the country is in an era of scarce funding for new initiatives. In this context, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center released its Take a Giant Step report which identifies a timely opportunity and challenge: By integrating emerging digital technologies into education and lifelong learning for all professionals, beginning with teachers of children aged 3 through 8, we can establish a cost-effective and productive pathway for learning in the 21st century.

They argue that this approach is timely because years of education reform efforts have established a current policy environment where the following key factors are present:


  • a core of common standards emphasizing 21st century skills and increased curricular depth;

  • legislatively enforced accountability for student outcomes, which provides the needed leverage for reform;

  • progress in developing improved assessments to test higher-level skills along with fundamental knowledge;

  • an increased commitment to learning in early childhood in the nation’s policy and business sectors as a result of new infrastructure and greatly expanded investment;

  • incentives for states to develop comprehensive plans that include improved teacher preparation and professional development; and

  • evolving digital technologies and a wealth of public media assets that create new possibilities for transforming teaching and learning.



The report was authored by Brigid Barron, Laura Bofferding, Gabrielle Cayton-Hodges, Carol Copple, Linda Darling-Hammond and Michael H. Levine, and was sponsored by The Joyce Foundation.
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