Literature Review: Education Technology and Early Learning


As part of our research partnership, WestEd conducts a literature review for each NewSchools Ed Tech challenge. The literature review is meant to provide readers with an overview of the current ed tech research landscape, as it relates to the challenge’s focus area. This literature review provides an overview of best practices for developers to consider when creating ed tech products intended to support the teaching and learning of early learners (Pre-Kindergarten through 2nd grade). From the report:

Three best-practice themes are echoed throughout the literature. Technology and interactive media should be: 1) child focused, 2) conscious of enhancing present learning activities, and 3) mindful of support needed for adults who are guiding use of technology. In addition to best practices, research supported methods specific to content areas (e.g., STEM, social-emotional learning, literacy, special education) and identified areas for development opportunities should also be utilized. Thus, edtech and interactive media developers can directly support learning outcomes through a focus on research-based methods for technology use, child-focused developmentally appropriate practices, development of products that add to educational experiences instead of replacing current practices, and support needed to facilitate tech and media use.

The literature review includes sections on Best Practices for Technology Use in Early Childhood Settings, Content-Specific Findings Around Educational Technology and Early Childhood Learning, and Applying Educational Technology to Early Childhood Learning, as well as a list of references to additional published research.