Forming a new Digital Teacher Corps and expanding broadband to publicly funded preschool programs are two recommendations from a new report released today by the Digital Age Teacher Preparation Council.
The Council, created by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education, with support from the Joyce Foundation, released the report “Take a Giant Step,” detailing a public/private sector plan to enhance teacher education and a high-quality, 21st century approach to learning for children in preschool and the primary grades.
From the release:
Co-chaired by Professor Linda Darling-Hammond of Stanford University and Michael H. Levine, the Cooney Center’s Executive Director, the Council found that the integration of research-based and innovative training models are a key missing element in the design of quality early learning programs. From their review of research sponsored by foundations and government agencies, there is evidence that less than half of all early childhood programs in the U.S.are considered high quality and promote significant learning among underserved students. In addition, recent studies like Common Sense Media’s report “Zero to Eight: Children’s Media Use in America” have shown that children ages 3-8 are consuming between 4-7 hours of media daily. It is due to this shift that organizations such as the National Association for the Education of Young Children are updating professional practices to guide learning and development for today’s children.
In the report, the Council sets forth several goals for the nation to meet by 2020 to integrate digital media in education that can help bring the most underserved students up to speed with 21st century skills including:
- Advance technology integration and infrastructure – the Council recommends that the President and Congress expand broadband policies and technology integration efforts to cover publicly supported preschool programs.
- Modernize professional learning programs and models – the Council urges states, local districts, Head Start and other early learning programs to develop curricula and training resources for teachers and parents on the appropriate use of technologies with young children. The Council recommends specific reforms to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to integrate the use of technology in both preparation and ongoing training programs.
- Expand public media use as a cost-effective asset for teachers – given their low cost, research-based development, but current limited use in early childhood settings, the Council recommends the creation of more public-private partnerships to create and distribute public media assets more widely.
- Create a Digital Teacher Corps – the Council recommends a new public-private partnership be designed to support a corps of teachers whose goal is to integrate modern technologies and best teaching practices to address the “fourth grade reading slump” that afflicts over one million young children annually.