Smart use of technology can support adult-child interactions and be a critical driver in spreading best practices to ensure all children are ready for kindergarten.
Two key areas in particular hold great promise: technology that helps programs function more efficiently and technology designed to directly improve adult-child interactions. We’ve seen products like Brightwheel, Peekapak and Tools of the Mind garner attention in both arenas, and we are eager to support the impact and spread of smart early childhood education products broadly.
But leveraging funding — state and federal public funding — is complex and can be a barrier to technologists who are developing tools to help teachers, caregivers, and parents support young children.
With support from the Omidyar Network, we are working with Early Edge California, the Ounce of Prevention Fund and Texans Care for Children to identify state and federal funding streams that ECE technologists can leverage for the development and spread of smart early childhood education products.
As part of this work, we are talking with key stakeholders, including state and local education leaders, program directors, principals, teachers, and home visiting and health care providers, to better understand the current landscape of technology funding, decision making, and adoption. We will also profile a handful of promising products to highlight the gains smart ECE technology has already made.
Our collective efforts will culminate in the development of a report in 2019. Through webinars and other opportunities for discussion of the findings, we hope to spark a national conversation about the need for smart investment in early childhood technology.