Ten years ago Utah enacted UPSTART, a sweeping government funded program aimed at providing early technology education to children. The goal was simple: to better prepare these children for kindergarten.
Today, as tech begins to dominate our lives, we can easily build off of that model and institute tech-based solutions to address educational disparities in low-income neighborhoods. We believe that there are three ways early childhood ed tech programs can help low-income students succeed.
3 Benefits of Early Childhood Ed Tech:
According to a 2015 survey, nearly two-thirds of Americans (64%) own a smartphone. And while laptops and tablets have become ubiquitous, for a fraction of low-income students, the internet is solely accessible via smartphones. Educational apps designed specifically for smartphones circumvent the issue of accessibility that can hinder early childhood education.
With the average cost of preschool increasing, many low-income families cannot afford to send their children to early childhood development programs. As more children from middle-class families attend preschool, those with lower incomes start kindergarten at a disadvantage. However, because of the wide range of apps across platforms, it is possible for lower-income families to find cheap or even free educational alternatives online that emphasize the basics.
3. Facilitating Development
Early childhood ed tech can help to shrink the educational and digital divides that plague many children from low-income families. This, in turn, improves their chances of social mobility going forward, as they are more prepared to use technology in high school, college and the digital workplace.
Education has always been a game of resources: Those with more receive a better one. By implementing tech-based solutions such as educational apps, we can not only increase the number of resources available to children from low-income families, but better prepare them for the ever-evolving digital workplace.