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ERIC Number: ED543353
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Sep
Pages: 41
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 11
2012 Context Study of the Use of Technology and PBS KIDS Transmedia in the Home Environment: A Report to the CPB-PBS "Ready to Learn Initiative"
Pasnik, Shelley; Llorente, Carlin
Education Development Center, Inc
The CPB-PBS Ready To Learn initiative, funded by the U. S. Department of Education, brings engaging, high-quality media to young children who may be at risk for academic difficulties due to economic and social disadvantages. The initiative aims to deliver early mathematics and literacy resources on new and emerging digital platforms such as tablet computers, interactive whiteboards (IWBs), and smartphones, as well as better-established technologies such as computers, video displays, and gaming consoles, and to create learning experiences that leverage the unique capabilities of these various technology platforms. The 2012 Context Study of the Use of Technology and PBS KIDS Transmedia in the Home Environment is an important part of the multiyear summative evaluation by Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), and SRI International (SRI) of the CPB-PBS Ready To Learn Initiative. The study responds to a need to understand family patterns of media and technology use at home--a need recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), and PBS. This Home Study extends the survey and focus group analyses produced in the authors' 2012 Ready To Learn Parent Study by analyzing how Ready To Learn families adopt, use, and report benefitting from technology and PBS KIDS transmedia in their homes. A total of 14 low-income families with children ages 2-8, participated in the Home Study (seven on the east coast, seven on the west coast) and were given a laptop, a tablet computer, and a guide directing them to available PBS KIDS transmedia content such as online games, tablet apps, and television programs. The authors used strategic sampling methods to maximize participation and diversity within their sample. On both coasts they attempted to enroll families that represented a range of technology use and comfort. On the east coast, researchers called eligible families enrolled in the 2012 Ready To Learn Prekindergarten Mathematics Pilot Study on a rolling basis until seven families agreed to participate. On the west coast, eligible families were stratified based on language(s) spoken in the home, whether the family had a home computer, and whether the family had home Internet access. To ensure that families were selected randomly, they used a lottery system to rank families, and then called them in order until seven families agreed to participate. This study confirms results from other work, showing that although the digital divide persists, low-income families are increasingly using new forms of technology, in addition to television, for entertainment, communication, and information-seeking. Children in particular often use the websites and apps associated with their favorite television programs and characters, making the Ready To Learn push to create transmedia timely. Often children are using technology on their own, particularly when they have access to easy-to-use devices like iPads. Families in this study firmly believed that technology could be beneficial and educational for their children, but they were also concerned with its potential to interfere with other important aspects of childhood--active, outdoor play, for example. Parents try to impose limits and remain, if not involved, at least aware of what their children are doing when they are using technology. But the realities of busy lives and the ease of using devices like tablets and smartphones away from parents' gaze, make it difficult for them to keep up. (Contains 3 tables and 3 footnotes.) [Note: Appendixes are not included in this version of the document.]
Education Development Center, Inc. 55 Chapel Street, Newton, MA 02458-1060. Tel: 617-969-7100; Fax: 617-969-5979; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Early Childhood Education; Preschool Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Department of Education (ED)
Authoring Institution: Education Development Center, Inc.; SRI International