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The digital age has ushered in a profusion of new challenges and opportunities for the field of early education. Until very recently, however, many educators and policymakers who focus on young children have been reluctant to use or recommend using video, interactive media, and digital tools in early childhood education settings. But the conversation is starting to change: Research has shown young children can benefit from screen media when those media are designed to be understood by young children, and used mindfully by the parents, teachers, and other caregivers around them.

Today at New America, we will be exploring what exactly well-designed, mindful media looks like in early education at our event, Beyond Screen Time. Many of the experts speaking at today’s event have provided glimpses of how these screen technologies are being used in an array of early childhood programs.

Further, today’s convening will explore the role of policy in guiding implementation of new technologies in early childhood education contexts. To coincide with the event, New America’s Lisa Guernsey published a policy brief, Envisioning a Digital Age Architecture for Early Education, which is designed to jumpstart this new conversation around learning technologies in the field of early education. The report focuses on five essential areas that policymakers need to address for the field to both benefit from the opportunities of the digital age, as well as withstand the potential challenges:

  • Aim high
  • Boost the workforce
  • Tap hidden assets
  • Connect to information and each other
  • Investigate

Throughout the report, each section frames opportunities and challenges in early education technology policy and practice, posing important questions that remain unanswered. Today’s convening will likely raise new ideas, and further questions, that will further lead the conversation in the right direction. As Lisa concludes, “By paying attention to the way today’s young children use technologies and media, and by tailoring policies to ensure that educators are prepared to help them, policymakers can promote environments that give learners every chance to succeed.”

Today’s event will be streaming live beginning at 1 p.m. on New America’s Beyond Screen Time event page. An archived video of the event will also be posted after the convening has ended. Follow the conversation on twitter using the hashtag #BeyondScreenTime.