All children need high-quality early learning experiences that foster their success in school and life. Yet millions of children—particularly in low-income communities—do not receive a high-quality early education. While digital media has the potential to address this opportunity gap, more research is needed on how to use it wisely and well to enhance learning.
Since 2006, EDC has studied the CPB-PBS Ready To Learn initiative to advance knowledge of whether and how digital media can promote the school readiness of children in low-income communities. Our research deepens understanding of whether Ready To Learn resources meet their goals to promote children’s early learning, guides producers in strengthening the resources, and identifies strategies to support educators and families in using the resources.
Our research contributes to the larger field of early education and produces tools and guidance for digital media creators, educators, researchers, and families. Activities include:
- Conduct research, including randomized controlled trials, pilot studies, mixed-methods evaluation, and survey and observational research
- Collaborate with producers of new children’s media products and services, focusing on the content’s learning potential, appeal, and utility
- Maintain an open-access hub of Ready to Learn publications and research tools
- Raise public awareness of effective use of media to promote children’s learning to support families and teachers, facilitate research, and inform policymaking
- Our research team published their findings in the book Getting Ready To Learn: Creating Effective, Educational Children’s Media, and regularly shares results in periodicals and through media outlets.
- Our studies have shown that PBS KIDS resources can improve young children’s learning in literacy—including informational text—mathematics, and science.
- Our studies have also shown that use of PBS KIDS content across media platforms supports teachers’ confidence and deepens understanding of how to help parents engage in learning with their children.