“T” Is for Technology: Early Childhood Education and the Digital Divide

kindergarten girls using computer

Fotolia/Monkey Business

Digital literacy plays an important role in a child's ability to succeed in school and later in life.

But despite rapid growth in society's use of digital technology, many children in low-income families in the United States cannot access and use technology in the same ways as their more-advantaged peers. This means fewer opportunities to learn, explore, and communicate digitally, and fewer chances to develop the workforce skills they will need to succeed later in life.

“T” Is for Technology—a RAND Corporation project sponsored by the PNC Foundation—explored five key questions about how early childhood education (ECE) could help narrow this digital divide:

  • What are the goals for technology use in ECE?
  • How do we define developmentally appropriate technology use in ECE?
  • Once defined, how do we support developmentally appropriate technology use through devices, software, connectivity, and other components of technology infrastructure?
  • How do we ensure that ECE providers are prepared to integrate technology appropriately, intentionally, and productively into ECE settings?
  • How can parents and other family members play a role in the use of technology in ECE?