The Digital Age Teacher Preparation Council released today the report Take a Giant Step, which details a multi-sector action plan to enhance teacher education with a higher quality, 21st century teaching approach for today’s tech savvy students.

Recent studies like Common Sense Media’s report Zero to Eight shows that children ages 3-8 are consuming between 4-7 hours of media daily. Yet, our education programs fail to meet this changing world in the classroom.

The Council, established by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and the Standford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education with support from the Joyce Foundation, found that the integration of research-based and innovative training models are a key missing element in the design of quality technology learning programs. In addition, the report found that less than half of all early childhood programs in the U.S. are considered high quality.

Due to this shift, organizations such as the National Association for the Education of Young Children are creating new educational practices to guide learning and development for today’s children. In addition, Take a Giant Step sets forth several national goals for 2020 to integrate personal digital learning in education for 21st century skills:

  • Advance technology integration and infrastructure by expanding policies and technology integration efforts.
  • Modernize professional learning programs and models by urging states and districts to develop curricula and training courses for teachers and parents to learn appropriate use of technology for children.
  • Expand the public media use as a cost-effective asset for teachers by creating more public-private partnerships to create and distribute public media assets more widely.
  • Create a Digital Teacher Corps through a public-private partnership designed to support teachers whose goal is to integrate modern technologies and best teaching practices to address literacy.

These initiatives are timely due to the recent climate of public education reform, the implementation of Common Core State Standards, the increased focus on teacher effectiveness and a growing demand for better professional development resources for educators. In order for a shift in students’ learning to be successful, teachers need robust support to pave the way to 21st century teaching.

“Teaching young children today demands a new approach to an exciting but increasingly complex set of challenges,” said Linda Darling-Hammond. “Quality early learning programs in our digital age will be led by highly prepared, flexible teachers who can effectively integrate what they know about healthy child development with the resources of an always connected, thoroughly modern environment. Take a Giant Step demonstrates how to design a new pathway for our youngest kids – where teaching is intentional, learning is engaging, and community matters most.”

The Digital Teacher Preparation Council consists of 18 leaders from a variety of fields including teacher education, child development, literacy, science, public service media and technology Take a Giant Step was written by Brigid Barron, Laura Bofferding, Gabrielle Cayton-Hodges, Carol Copple, Linda Darling-Hammond and Michael H. Levine.

View the full report at http://joanganzcooneycenter.org/Reports.html.

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