Our team was proud to present our research and development process behind Early Math with Gracie & Friends in the National Science Foundation’s 2015 Teaching and Learning Video Showcase. We are honored to have received NSF funding to create Gracie & Friends and to have received the Facilitators’ Award during the Video Showcase!
The Gracie & Friends Photo Friends iPad app is designed to foster collaboration among preschoolers. Our partner teacher, Melisa, masterfully reinforces the audio from the game, encouraging our young friends to work — as what? As a team!
We had a bubble-bursting good time sharing the Gracie & Friends Treasure Bubbles iPad app, now available in the Apple App Store, with our young friends and teachers. What was our approach to integrating this collaborative game into the preschool classroom? Modeling how we can work together to learn math — which is “awesome” and totally clap-worthy!
This modeling — and it’s absolutely participatory modeling with the teachers and children! — is all part of our Professional Development for effective integration of research-based, developmentally appropriate games into the preschool classroom. Teachers model the apps for the children, inviting their thoughts, their voices, and their touch.
As for the children? We saw a lot of joy and exuberance while learning together! And that’s the true treasure.
As we work hard to put the final touches on the subitizing app suite, we wanted to take a moment and reflect on why we do what we do, and why all of the hard work is worth it.
As long as we keep children at the heart of this and learning at the center, and we continue to evolve our practices in collaboration with partners – preschool partners, research partners – I think we can have confidence that we will build out a new age for public media, for learning with technology.”
Summer is winding down, but our team is still going full-force getting our apps and activities classroom-ready. We took a moment to sit down with executive producer Christine Zanchi and one of our research leads, Phil Vahey, to get their thoughts on how NGPM is contributing to the field of technology and early learning. Take a look!
Remember NGPM @ SXSWedu 2013?
Help us get to SXSWedu 2014, one of the largest education innovation conferences in the country! We noticed last year there weren’t a lot of people talking about tech in preschool and we want to change that! Help us spread the word about research-based learning design, productive failure through game play, and collaborative technology experiences by casting your vote for our panel before Friday, September 9.
There’s other evidence that math matters early in life.”
New studies show that math ability in secondary school and beyond can be predicted in first grade or earlier. An article in USA Today summarizing recent research in the effects of early math instruction on later math success describes a study done out of the University of Missouri which found that seventh graders who performed poorly on a test of core math skills were those who had lagged behind in number sense and math fluency as first graders.
The profound effect that early math education can have on a child’s educational trajectory should therefore not be underestimated. Parents and caretakers are encouraged to build children’s number sense from “as soon as they’re born,” says Mann Koepke, of NIH’s National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. How? Check out the article for tips on how to get your child on the path to developing math fluency!
President Obama’s remarks on early education in his State of the Union Address in January have done wonders for pushing preschools into the forefront of the American political discourse. But is all press good press? Just a few nights ago, comedian Jon Stewart brought up the issue on his late-night “fake news” broadcast The Daily Show, highlighting some of the back-and-forth between proponents of universal education and those skeptical of its effectiveness.
With all this attention on preschools, it’s important to keep the conversation focused on research-backed evidence to keep the truth from getting lost. We turned to edtech thought leader Lisa Guernsey and her colleague Clare McCann to help us understand what we’re hearing. In this Early Ed Watch blog post, Guernsey and McCann discuss The Daily Show clip and explain that the President’s comments on return on investment gained through preschool education are indeed valid, but “only for high-quality preschool programs.”
Recently, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Secretary of Health and Human Resources Kathleen Sebelius pointed to Massachusetts as a leader in early childhood education in a HuffPost opinion piece:
As we move forward with this economically vital effort, we can look to states that have shown the way. In Michigan and Massachusetts, for example, Governors Rick Snyder and Deval Patrick have made expanding access to preschool programs a priority.
We’re inspired and empowered by the work going on in Massachusetts and can’t wait to share our NGPM apps with the world!
All of us working on the Next Generation Preschool Math Project believe deeply in the importance of improving early childhood education, but most of the national debate focuses on the K-12 arena. That’s why we were thrilled when we heard President Obama speak about the value of preschool education at last night’s State of the Union address! Here’s what the President had to say:
“And that has to start at the earliest possible age. You know, study after study shows that the sooner a child begins learning, the better he or she does down the road.
But today, fewer than three in ten 4-year-olds are enrolled in a high-quality preschool program. Most middle-class parents can’t afford a few hundred bucks a week for private preschool. And for poor kids who need help the most, this lack of access to preschool education can shadow them for the rest of their lives. So, tonight, I propose working with states to make high-quality preschool available to every single child in America.
That’s something we should be able to do.
Every dollar we invest in high-quality early childhood education can save more than seven dollars later on, by boosting graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, even reducing violent crime. In states that make it a priority to educate our youngest children — like Georgia or Oklahoma — studies show students grow up more likely to read and do math at grade level, graduate high school, hold a job, form more stable families of their own.
We know this works. So let’s do what works and make sure none of our children start the race of life already behind. Let’s give our kids that chance.”
With NGPM, we fully agree that high-quality early childhood education should be available to all children, and our hope is that carefully designed and researched technological solutions can bring down the cost while improving the effectiveness of preschools across the country. Follow us on our journey as we strive to design, develop, and produce innovative learning tools for tots!
Watch the full speech.