September 1, 2011
In knowing hands, public-media resources can help young children growing up in socially and economically disadvantaged circumstances become better prepared to succeed in school. This vision, which has held steady since the original authorizing legislation for the program was written, continues to guide the work of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), PBS, and other partners as they continue their Ready to Learn work with support from the US Department of Education's most recent program grant.
While the Initiative's overarching goal remains constant, the current project is unique in two important ways. First, the project has a sharp focus on early mathematics and literacy learning. Second, the Initiative is delivering resources on new and emerging digital platforms, such as tablet computers, interactive whiteboards, and smartphones, that complement better established technologies such as computers, video displays, and gaming consoles. This approach not only takes advantage of the particular affordances of each platform but, more importantly, allows children and the adults who care for them to engage with content in a variety of contexts: across different settings, in different social arrangements, throughout the course of the school day and beyond it. This transmedia approach, when paired with concerted outreach efforts, is designed to provide enhanced support for preschool and early elementary children.
This report presents findings from the first year of the summative evaluation of CPB's Ready to Learn Initiative. The summative evaluation team includes researchers from the Center for Children and Technology at Education Development Center (EDC) and researchers from the Center for Technology in Learning at SRI International, who conducted the research.