Check it out! NGPM and NGPS get a shout out from Shelley Pasnik, VP and director of the Center for Children and Technology at EDC. Shelley reflects on 6 issues for developing early educational technologies discussed at this year’s Fred Forward Conference.

Child using an NGPM app

Experts test all NGP apps throughout development

We’ve been reflecting on Christine Zanchi’s and Ashley Lewis-Presser’s experiences at Head Start’s 12th National Research Conference on Early Childhood! Here are a few takeaways:

  • Many early childhood professionals appreciated the NGPM approach to integrating technology into preschool curricula: 
    • Aim for technology activities to span 10-15 minute sessions,
    • Maintain a high ratio of traditional to tech-based activities, and
    • Focus on iPad uses that take advantage of the tablet’s unique capabilities.
  • An important element for technology developers to share with the community is a reflection on the design process that led, through many twisting turns, to the current technology and curriculum designs. The field of educational technology is evolving significantly. We all benefit from reflecting on the lessons learned throughout the process of designing new technologies and studying their use in classrooms.
  • So many interesting and connected questions come up!
    • How can our curriculum be adapted to work in different preschool settings, e.g. morning-only versus all-day programs?
    • What would a math curriculum look like, fully integrated with science or another topic? How would we preserve the richness of both domains?
  • The technology provides a tool, one which is perhaps unfamiliar to many teachers and which is certainly changing rapidly. For early educational technologies to be effective, teachers need to be well trained in developmentally appropriate uses of technology. Technology designers and other players in the education arena must make sure that high-quality, sustained opportunities for professional development exist to support teachers.

NGPM can’t wait for next year’s conference!

Ashley Lewis-Presser present about NextGen.

Ashley Lewis-Presser presents about NGPM.

Starting today, two of NGPM’s three co-PIs will be attending Head Start’s 12th National Research Conference on Early Childhood. Christine Zanchi and Ashley Lewis-Presser are looking forward to contributing thoughts and perspectives from nearly three years of work on NGPM at Tuesday’s poster symposium on Innovations in Early Childhood STEM Curriculum and Professional Development! See all the details here!

Ashley Lewis-Presser talking with conference attendees about NGPM.

Ashley Lewis-Presser talking with conference attendees about NGPM.

It was definitely a day of celebration as some of the NGPM team visited the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Nurtury Learning Lab in Jamaica Plain, MA. Check out the video from the Boston Herald!

The Mayor of Boston also attended, stating, “All children should have access to the best learning and school readiness opportunities we can provide. The Nurtury Learning Lab at Bromley-Heath is a great example of a service that will greatly impact children’s lives and start them on a path for success.”

The NGPM team brought our subitizing and equipartitioning games so that children could play and learn in their new media room at the Nurtury. What an inspiring play time!

Children clapped at their subitizing successes!


We got to watch children think and observe teachers doing what they do best!


And we promised that we’d bring the iPads back the next time we came…


It was a beautiful and symbolic day for our children’s education!

See more photos of the event from the Jamaica Plain News.

Last week NGPM Executive Producer Christine Zanchi attended the Fred Forward Conference, a national conference hosted by the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media in Pittsburgh, PA.

Invigorated by the conference, Christine says, “I think it’s awesome that the industry is turning its attention to research as a critical part in the development of children’s media — especially from where we stand as public media. We really care about true educational impact, and iterative design-based research gets us there.”

Economist James Heckman has spent decades studying and documenting the lasting benefits of high-quality education for children in their earliest years. He is a strong advocate for investment in programs that foster early cognitive and social development as a means for reducing inequity and increasing productivity across the country. The link between the increase of high-quality education in early childhood and the reduction of inequality seems so clear that he calls it the Heckman Equation.

Just a few days ago, the prestigious journal Science published his research team’s latest findings. The work follows up on the Carolina Abecedarian Project (ABC), which was started over 40 years ago to explore the impact of high-quality early care and education. From infancy to age five, participants received high-quality, full-day care and education, including topics on health and nutrition. The study followed up at five later points in time spanning older childhood and early adulthood.

The results show significant positive differences in health-related behaviors and outcomes for those who attended the ABC program three decades later, as compared to age-mates also tracked by the study but who did not receive such education.

Many of us have few, if any, specific memories of our own formative years — the period of life during which the intervention took place. Yet, experiences between infancy and age five stuck with the children and continued to shape their health-related decisions as they entered kindergarten, grade-school, and adulthood, and beyond, resulting in lower risks for common diseases and therefore lower health-care needs. 

That’s the power of getting off to the right start!

The NGPM team also feels strongly about investing in high-quality early education for every child, and we’re happy to have the opportunity to research how to best do this in our technology-infused world!

Next Generation Preschool Math will provide an example of what research and public media are doing for early learning through digital media at the New America Foundation’s event “Beyond Screen Time: Early Learning and Digital Media.”

The event itself is an “afternoon of moderated discussion, innovative exhibits and networking that explore a world beyond ‘screen time,’ recognizing technology as more than an electronic babysitter and pushing for high standards in how it is used.”

Check out the Beyond Screen Time video!


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