Friday, November 12, 2010

Learning with Mobile Technology, Ed-Tech Action Plans, and Educational Media for Babies and Toddlers - A Review of Some Recent Research

The U.S. releases the final version of its National Ed-Tech Action Plan. It's a 124 page report, outlining a lot of very ambitious plans, including online professional-collaboration communities for teachers and other educators, finance development of open-source educational resources, launch an initiative dedicated to defining and increasing educational productivity, and lists goals for 2020...for more information see Education Week's article on the report.

To strengthen digital citizenship and make digital and media literacy part of mainstream education in the United States, a series of key steps, both large and small, will be necessary. In this report, a plan of action includes 10 recommendations for local, regional, state and national initiatives aligned with the themes of community action, teacher education, research and assessment, parent outreach, national visibility and stakeholder engagement. These action steps do more than bring digital and media literacy into the public eye. Each step provides specific concrete programs and services to meet the diverse needs of our nation’s citizens, young and old, and build the capacity for digital and media literacy to thrive as a community education movement. - Digital and Media Literacy:
A Plan of Action
This 63 page paper outlines specific steps that policymakers and educators can take to strengthen a communities digital and media literacy skills.

Learning: Is there an app for that? is a recent study by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center (disclosure - I really like their work) which focuses on how "new forms of digital media are influencing very young children and their families in the United States [and Canada] and how we can deploy smart mobile devices and help advance their education". The report finds prekindergarten and early-elementary students capable of learning from applications on their parents' smartphones, and opens discussion to whether this is a more effective or desirable method of learning in a society where these tools will be, or are, second nature the digital native.

Do Babies Learn From Baby Media? No...all those educational DVDs, etc. really don't give babies and toddlers any real advantage according to a study of 96 families with children between the ages of 12 and 18 months - nice to know, we have 17 month old twins and haven't invested much in multimedia, we decided to talk to them instead ;-)).

From the abstract:
The most important result was that children who viewed the DVD did not learn any more words from their monthlong exposure to it than did a control group. The highest level of learning occurred in a no-video condition in which parents tried to teach their children the same target words during everyday activities. Another important result was that parents who liked the DVD tended to overestimate how much their children had learned from it.
The study was published in the September issue of Psychological Science.