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April 13, 2015

Babies Need Real Interaction

New York Times

When my daughters were toddlers, they became wide-eyed with wonder whenever they could make somethi?ng happen on a screen. But what were they learning exactly?

November 13, 2014

Common-Sense, Science-Based Advice on Toddler Screen Time -- Finally!


A new message has broken through—part of a wave of pronouncements rooted in science that could make way for new approaches and push “screen time” to be much more than an electronic babysitter.

February 24, 2014

Garbled in Translation: Getting Media Research to the Press and Public

Journal of Children and Media

"Cognitive stimulation" was already a buzzword in parenting circles, especially among the hyper-involved parents of the United States. 

February 19, 2014

A Cautionary Tale of Pediatricians, Parents, and Facebook


We face a gazillion apps and games claiming to be good for our kids. Yet we are peppered with headlines about why screen-based technology may be bad for them. What we need is a trusted guide. Where is our Dr. Spock of digital?

February 10, 2014

China Goes Big

The American Prospect

American politicians reveal their nervousness about China whenever they bash the country’s investments around the world or mention Beijing’s smog. China’s efforts to expand preschool may make them even more anxious. The Ministry of Education aims for every child to have access to what the Chinese call “kindergarten”—three years of pre-primary school starting at age three—by 2020. 

January 27, 2014

When Parents Define “Educational” Media, SpongeBob Sinks


Any self-respecting skeptic has to be careful with the word educational. Thousands of games in the iTunes App Store describe themselves as “educational,” but are they? On TV, preschool shows declare that it’s “learning time,” but is it? 

October 25, 2013

Roundtable on the Science of Digital Media and Early Learning

Early Ed Watch

With nearly 100,000 apps in the education category of the iTunes app store, and television still a huge part of children’s daily lives, the questions about how technology affects learning are more pertinent than ever. 

October 17, 2013

Don’t Just Talk. Listen to Your Baby Too


If you’re a parent, you can’t miss the hot new thing in early education: words. Talk to your baby, and you close the education gap, goes the theory. 

October 11, 2013

Focusing on the ‘Word Gap’ With Help from Hillary Clinton

Early Ed Watch

Help babies and toddlers learn words. This seemingly simple task has become a rallying cry for early childhood advocates over the past decade. Well-trained preschool teachers can cite chapter and verse on why it is important to immerse children in environments where they hear new words and are encouraged to speak and engage in conversation.

October 09, 2013

Voices Carry


To hear the kids’ voices, press a button or hold the can to your ear. They are part of Hear Me kiosks in coffee shops, libraries, recreation spaces, and, the founders hope, eventually City Hall. 

September 04, 2013

Math Apps, Preschoolers and Framing New Research Questions

Early Ed Watch

The project is designed to shed light on how -- and if -- 4-year-olds can learn early math skills from apps designed to be used in classroom settings with teacher input and guidance. 

September 03, 2013

Very Young Programmers

The New York Times

But who says that 8 is the youngest you can teach children how to program? Now there is Scratch Jr. for children still learning to read and tie their shoes.

September 03, 2013

Field-Testing the Math Apps

The New York Times

With the advent of interactive touch screens, educational apps have taken off. Until recently, there has been little research into their effectiveness, but that is starting to change.

July 22, 2013

To Develop Tomorrow's Engineers, Start Before They Can Tie Their Shoes

Ramps, roller coasters and other constructions investigated by 5- and 6-year-olds.

June 06, 2013

How Kids’ Television Inspires a Lifelong Love of Science

Could it be that adults would learn the most from tuning in to Sid the Science Kid?

April 15, 2013

The Smart Way to Use iPads in the Classroom


It's not about the games or educational apps.

March 05, 2013

Here's What's Smart About the Obama Preschool Proposal

Huffington Post

The President's plan to provide children with more access to preschool will build on programs already underway in many states. 

March 01, 2013

Toddlers, Electronic Media, and Language Development

Zero to Three Journal

Debate continues to circle around the age of 2: Could children so young possibly learn from digital media without also having a parent interacting with them while they watch? Research is mixed.

February 25, 2013

Why Preschool is Not Enough

The Atlantic

President Obama is right that early childhood education is a must. But without proper K-12 follow-up, the benefits will be stunted.

December 13, 2012

Educational Apps Alone Won't Teach Your Child to Read


Most of the top-selling reading apps appear to teach only the most basic of literacy skills.

December 04, 2012

The Best Gift to Give a Kid for Christmas


As parents ponder what to buy their children this holiday, remember that playtime often less to do with the toy itself and more to do with what’s happening around it, especially when it comes to background TV.

December 01, 2012

Pioneering Literacy in the Digital Wild West

Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

Apps for learning to read: Do they work?  A report from the New America Foundation and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop scans the market and shares promising programs.

October 24, 2012

Back to the Dark Ages for Preschool: When a Data Source Disappears

Huffington Post

A piece of our country's early education infrastructure is about to fall away.

September 21, 2012

How True Are Our Assumptions about Screen Time?

NAEYC Families

Research on screen time is starting to overturn conventional wisdom. Here are five common parental assumptions that the research does not necessarily support.

August 20, 2012

The Progress of Education Reform: Technology in Early Education

Education Commission on the States

The time is overdue for thinking about the communication
technologies and interactive media that could support early
education efforts in states and localities. Here are two places to start.

August 06, 2012

An 'Educational' Video Game Has Taken Over My House


Have you heard about Minecraft, the computer game with opportunities for creative problem-solving? Have you been warned that you may rue the day you let this time-sucker into your household?


June 22, 2012

UVA's Ouster: A Symptom of Our Reboot Culture

We seem to expect today's schools to power down and restart at a faster speed, but educational institutions don't work like machines.

May 02, 2012

Can Your Preschooler Learn Anything From An iPad App?


Are interactive media really better than linear video?

March 13, 2012

What the U.S. Can Learn from European TV

We need a new model in which American television can stretch its wings and show off children who are creative and self-sufficient.

March 08, 2012

Saying Yes to Digital Media in Preschool and Kindergarten

Huffington Post

A new position statement on technology from the National Association for the Education of Young Children doesn't suggest a ban on screens for preschoolers or kindergartners as some child-advocacy groups have suggested. Nor does it say teachers should avoid using technology with young kids. Instead, the onus is on teachers to make smart decisions and use technology appropriately. It's a brave document.

January 29, 2012

Pushing Past Mediocrity in the Classroom

Los Angeles Times

How do we halt the teacher-bashing, and still improve the quality of teaching? The answer is to radically change the evaluation conversation. A focus on watching teachers work — on how they actually interact with students — is long overdue.

December 20, 2011

Why E-Reading With Your Kid Can Impede Learning

Parents tend to interrupt too much with "Don't turn the page yet" and "Click here!"

November 17, 2011

Ed Tech for the Younger Ones? Not Without Trained Teachers

Huffington Post

Amid the agitation over childhood in the digital age, two visions are battling it out. Both  spell trouble. Parents, families and teachers are either omitted or in the background.

October 25, 2011

Screen Time, Young Kids and Literacy: New Data Begs Questions

Huffington Post

The snapshot offered by today's data on children's media should prompt questions about intersections between socio-economic status, families' screen routines, and how children are exposed to the building blocks of literacy.

September 25, 2011

Your Kid's Brain, SpongeBob'ed

Zocalo Public Square

Adults and older children seem to make sense of SpongeBob's rapid changes and abstract references without much mental effort. But this ability to grasp what is going on without clear stage directions isn’t something we’re born with.

June 01, 2011

Are E-Books Any Good?

School Library Journal

Do digital books help young kids learn to read, or are they mostly fun and games?

May 15, 2011

Learning to Read: How Young is Too Young?

The Huffington Post

Should reading be taught in first grade or in kindergarten? Maybe preschool? How about even younger?

January 07, 2011

High-Tech Help

The New York Times

From pens that can remember to text that can talk, technologies are now being held up as important tools for students with learning disabilities like dyslexia, dysgraphia (trouble writing) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

November 17, 2010

Transforming Education in the Primary Years

Issues in Science and Technology

This is more than a repeat of the argument for creating universal pre-K. We need a much broader and deeper transformation of the educational system that starts, if parents choose, when children are as young as three years old and continues through the first few grades of elementary school.

October 18, 2010

Making 'E-Textbooks' Real -- and Really Accessible -- in Public Schools

The Huffington Post

October 18, 2010

Stories about the potential of digital learning via iPads and e-textbooks ricochet through cyberspace and the airwaves. But despite the hype, these kinds of organic learning opportunities are still more the exception than the rule in pre-K-12 schools.

October 06, 2010

The Effects of Time-Starved Parents, 25 Years From Now

The Huffington Post

To succeed in the workplace of the future, children will need parents who give them more than the roof over their heads and the shoes on their feet. They will need their parents' time for conversation, for read-alouds and for positive discipline. Yet for many of today's families, that unharried time is becoming rare.

August 20, 2010

America’s Most Amazing Schools

Ladies' Home Journal

A new wave of creativity is brightening the educational landscape. Here are 10 programs that are real standouts.

August 02, 2010

Ed Policies Ignore Science On How/When Kids Learn

Our education system pays little attention to children’s development and achievement until third grade and is strewn with remedial programs to get older children back on track. Yet studies highlight the importance of children’s earliest years – birth to age 8 – in developing the mental capacity that enables life-long learning.

June 13, 2010

A Place for Play

The American Prospect

Why reading programs must combine playful learning with direct instruction

April 28, 2010

Don't Dismiss Early Education as Just Cute; It's Critical

USA Today

Experts talk too often about poorly performing middle or high schools and dismiss elementary and preschool time as the "cute" years. But these are the years we should focus on.

January 28, 2010

Shape the Media

New York Times

Remember the boy named Mike Teavee in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” -- poor, ridiculous Mike Teavee who was so sucked into television that he was literally sucked into television, miniaturized and carried away by the Oompa Loompas?

November 06, 2009

If Bedtime is Book Time, Let's Make Morning Time for Math

Reading is part of the raising-kids routine. Math – not so much. Maybe it should be.

September 10, 2009

Kindergarten Need Not Be A Pressure Cooker

USA Today

Play and education are not mutually exclusive. We have to find ways to relieve the pressure on kindergarten without reaching back futilely to the early 20th century, when expectations were lower and the urban and rural poor were virtually ignored.

May 22, 2009

Sesame Street: The Show That Counts


As Sesame Street turns 40, it's no longer in the top-10 in preschool TV. Ask a preschooler who her favorite TV character is, and chances are she'll say Dora, Curious George or, heaven help us, SpongeBob.

March 09, 2009

TV Research: Let's Get Smarter about What Children See, Hear and Experience

Early Ed Watch

Oh, parents. Oh, researchers. What are we going to do with you two?

March 02, 2009

Rewards for Students Under the Microscope

The New York Times

Should children be paid for school work? A focus on school reform has led researchers to intensify efforts to gather data that may provide insights on when and if rewards work.

January 23, 2009

Computers Track the Elusive Metaphor

The Chronicle of Higher Education

Aristotle was famous for his love of metaphors and applauded writers who could harness their power, saying "It is the mark of genius." Some 2,400 years later, computers may not be able to master poetics like Aristotle, but they have become smart enough to know a metaphor when they see one.

January 04, 2009

He Put Movie Listings in an App

Friday, July 11, loomed as a big day this year for Jeff Grossman, a sophomore at Carnegie Mellon. He had created a digital application for local movie listings for the iPhone. Would anyone want it?

January 04, 2009

Tracking Buying Patterns With Surveillance Cameras

The New York Times

Most large retail stores have surveillance cameras to spot shoplifters. Why not use that video to zoom in on what your customers are drawn to and how much time they spend mulling their options before deciding to buy?

January 04, 2009

Leaving the Information Superhighway for Jet Streams of Images

The New York Times

No more gasps about the wonders of the Web. Twenty-somethings see lots of room for improvement, what with the hassles of searching for multimedia content, the inefficiencies of shopping sites, the maze-like feel of social networks.

December 12, 2008

Bringing Tenure into the Digital Age

New tools for analyzing information are arriving every day, but that doesn't mean scholars who use them well are being rewarded, says Christine L. Borgman, a professor of information studies at the University of California at Los Angeles.

December 05, 2008

New Machines Reproduce Custom Books on Demand

Chronicle of Higher Education

If you wonder what the future of book publishing might look, smell, and sound like, head north to the University of Alberta's bookstore in Edmonton. There a $144,000 machine is churning out made-to-order paperbacks at a cost of a penny a page.

November 21, 2008

A Wealth of Data and No One in Charge

The Chronicle of Higher Education

Unlike corporations, few colleges have hired chief privacy officers.

November 01, 2008

Media Minds: A Blog

Lisa Guernsey's personal blog from 2007-2009

Tracking how technology changes the way we learn, play, think and grow up.


October 01, 2008

Digital Dialogue: A Conversation with Barry Joseph

Barry Joseph is director of the Online Leadership Program for Global Kids, which helps teens create an array of media to promote global awareness and civic involvement among their peers.

October 01, 2008

Digital Dialogue: A Conversation with Sir Ken Robinson

Parents' Choice

Sir Ken Robinson, knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for services to the arts, has been pushing for more creativity in education and the workplace for several decades.

October 01, 2008

Digital Dialogue: A Conversation with Nichole Pinkard

Parents' Choice

An interview with the founder of the Digital Youth Network, which builds on a combination of in-school media classes and afternoon studio or "pod" sessions to help 6th, 7th and 8th graders create their own digital music, videos and games.

September 14, 2008

Limiting, and Watching, What Your Children Watch

The New York Times

Instead of talking only about time limits, researchers are zeroing in on trouble spots and taking television content into account.

July 01, 2008

Baby Steps: Barriers to Bonding

Babytalk Magazine

Forming a strong attachment with your newborn has benefits that can last her lifetime. But developing that emotional closeness may not come easily to mothers with postpartum depression (PPD).

July 27, 2008

Facebook in College: Picture Your Name Here

New York Times

It's Sunday morning on college campuses, and party photographs from the night before are already posted on Not surprisingly, they may reveal a little too much.

June 01, 2008

YouTube As a Field Trip (and As a Catalyst for Safer Video Searching)

Parents' Choice

It used to be that parents faced with quizzical looks about hummingbirds would just have to let the matter drop. Or, maybe plan a someday visit to a nature center. But in the era of YouTube, there is another option: Search for video.

April 20, 2008

On Kids' TV, Get With the Program

The Washington Post Outlook Section

Turn it off! That's what parents always hear. What we seldom get -- and need -- is solid, research-based advice about when to turn the TV on.

March 01, 2008

Changing Channels: A Year Without the Tube

Brain, Child Magazine

After reading The Big Turnoff by Ellen Currey-Wilson, I have to ask: Is TV really so bad that you need to keep your children away for a full year?

January 31, 2008

A Site to Bring Parents Up to Speed on Video Games

The New York Times

A new site called aims to give parents an inside scoop by going beyond the ratings and offering evaluations written by knowledgeable gamers — many of them parents.

December 01, 2007

Review of George's Secret Key to the Universe

When taught badly, physics and astronomy can become dull and lifeless, weighed down by the regurgitation of facts and theories. George's Secret Key to the Universe is the opposite.

December 01, 2007

Plug & Play

Parents' Choice

Over the past few years, toy stores have been loading their shelves with new "plug and play" electronic toys. But in the controlled chaos of most households, "plug and play" may be a misnomer.

November 04, 2007

Outside the Box

The New York Times

This is about colleges who want their students to live a certain philosophy, day in and day out, for four years. Sound intense? It is. A bit offbeat? That too. Such colleges are not for everyone, nor do they want to be.

October 16, 2007

Background Noise Can Cause Harm

It turns out that background television -- even simple background noise -- can affect young children more than we might think.

August 16, 2007

The Genius of Baby Einstein

New York Times

I know I shouldn’t admit to playing baby videos for my children, but allow me to embarrass myself.

July 31, 2007

A Baby-Proof Method Tracks Just Where Little Ones Look

The New York Times

Ah, the sweet gaze of a baby. So innocent. So full of wonder. So infuriatingly difficult to track with any kind of speed or precision.

May 28, 2007

Coming Soon: The Autobahn Network

Federal Computer Weekly

The Internet2 network is undergoing a transformation that officials say will make it not only faster but also more flexible. It will enable scientists to order access to temporary circuits for their private use — like having a lane on the autobahn all to themselves.

September 05, 2006

When Toddlers Turn On the TV and Actually Learn

The New York Times

Research has shown that viewers of Blues Clues ages 3 to 5 score better on tests of problem solving than those who haven't watched the show. But what happens with children younger than 3? Should babies and toddlers be exposed to television at all? Is there any chance that they could actually learn from the screen?

July 30, 2006

To Cut or Not to Cut

The New York Times

Professors are taking note of who is in class and who is not. They may not be making seating assignments à la fifth grade, but they are keeping track of no-shows, marking who is absent or asking students in big lecture halls to sign attendance sheets.

January 08, 2006

Innovation: The Campus Reality Tour

The New York Times

Doug Imbruce was a freshman at Columbia when he was watching an MTV reality show and struck by an incongruity: on the screen were the smallest details about the lives of celebrities. So why, he wondered, had he not been able to get any inside information about students' lives when he was trying to choose a college the year before?

January 01, 2006

Protect Your Identity: In Print and Online

Consumer Reports Buying Guide 2006

In print only

December 07, 2005

Tech-Inspired but Toys All the Same

The New York Times

If this month's pressing question for parents is what to get the children for Christmas, it may come with the caveat "just don't tell us to buy a Game Boy or an iPod."

September 05, 2005

Hurricane Katrina: The Newspaper: Reporting, and Living Out, a Calamity

The New York Times

As the water crept up another riser, Times-Picayune editor Jim Amoss made his decision. ''We needed to leave while the leaving was possible,'' he said.

August 03, 2005

Where's Johnny? Smart Cards and Satellites Help Keep Track

The New York TImes

The 120 buses of the Washington Township school district in Indianapolis have been fitted with a Global Positioning System unit and a video camera in an effort to improve security.

July 31, 2005

There's Always Teaching

The New York Times

With jobs aplenty and an increasing number of adults joining the profession, schools for aspiring teachers seemed destined to go online.

July 22, 2005

Soaring Through Ancient Rome, Virtually

A professor at the University of Virginia uses virtual reality and expertise in ancient Roman architecture to fly students through a 3-D learning space.

June 24, 2005

Teach in Many Locations at Once

Chronicle of Higher Education

Five professors, multiple locations, one class: Students and professors connect with each other using Internet and video.

November 09, 2004

Tuning into a Problem

Washington Post

A Worried Mom Pursues the Facts About What TV Does to Its Youngest Viewers.

August 19, 2004

When Gadgets Get in the Way

New York Times

Now that computers are a staple in schools around the country, perhaps the machines should come with a warning label for teachers: ''Beware: Students may no longer hear a word you say.''

Screen Time

How Electronic Media – From Baby Videos to Educational Software – Affects Your Young Child

Screen Time

Recent Articles

Common-Sense, Science-Based Advice on Toddler Screen Time -- Finally!


A new message has broken through—part of a wave of pronouncements rooted in science that could make way for new approaches and push “screen time” to be much more than an electronic babysitter.