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The Digital Age Teacher Preparation CouncilRebecca Herr-StephensonA formative influence on the Professional Development working group isthe Digital Age Teacher Preparation Council first convened by the JoanGanz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop in January 2010. The Council,comprised of experts in early childhood education and child develop-ment, educational policymakers, and technologists, worked together toidentify necessary changes in teacher training and professional develop-ment within the context of 21st century schooling.
Through its collaborative work, the Council put forward several recom-mendations for educational policy and program design that better supportthe integration of digital technologies and participatory learning prac-tices into educational settings for children from three to eight years old.Specifically, the DATPC highlighted five general goals for improvementand innovation related to training and support of early childhood andelementary teachers:Goal 1: Modernize program designs and professional developmentmodels to promote success. Of primary importance to meeting thisgoal is helping teachers and students gain meaningful access to new tech-nologies. In addition, the Council recommended changes to staffing,scheduling, and communication practices to create space and time forcollaboration and intentional learning, as well as increased opportunitiesfor parental involvement.Goal 2: Train early educators to integrate digital and screen mediainto their teaching practices in developmentally appropriate ways.Following the lead of the National Association for the Education of YoungChildren (NAEYC), the Council’s recommendation in this area focusedon empowering teachers to make choices about the kinds of media to usein their classrooms, recognizing teachers’ expertise in principles of devel-opmentally appropriate practice.Goal 3: Expand public media use as a cost-effective asset for teach-ers. This goal focused on raising awareness among teachers of the catalogof media available for use in the classroom through public channels andsupporting design and production of public media across new platforms.Goal 4: Advance coherent and equitable policies to promote technol-ogy integration across standards, curriculum, and teacher professionaldevelopment. Acknowledging the ongoing, dual challenges of the digitaldivide and the participation gap, the Council recommended restructuringthe allocation of funds and resources to ensure a more equitable distribu-tion of new technologies.Goal 5: Create R&D partnerships for a digital age. Also related toimproving equity in the distribution of technologies and funds for profes-sional development, the Council recommended creative, interdisciplinaryapproaches to R&D.(Barron, Cayton-Hodges, Bofferding, Copple, Darling-Hammond, andLevine, 2011).These broad goals outlined by the Council have been addressed by a varietyof programs for students throughout K-12 schooling and expanded learn-ing opportunities.