SAN FRANCISCO: Early exposure to basic math skills in an interactive environment pupil confidence with the subject, according to new study.
The study was conducted by the Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), and Menlo Park based SRI, and incorporated a 10-week PBS KIDS transmedia math supplement initiative, saw an earlier acquisition of skills and confidence by those who participated.
The Transmedia study was based on a total sample of 92 classrooms, with 46 in San Francisco Bay Area and 46 in New York, from preschool agencies and centers serving three- to five-year-old children primarily from low-income households.
A total of 166 teachers (84 in New York and 82 in the San Francisco Bay Area) participated in the study. It found that early acquisition of skills, such as counting, recognizing numerals, recognizing shapes, and patterning, increased significantly among four- and five-year-old children from economically disadvantaged communities who participated in the 10-week initiative.
Transmedia includes the use of familiar characters, settings, and stories across different media formats. The materials used included videos and interactive content from several PBS KIDS programs, such as Sid the Science Kid, The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!, Curious George, and Dinosaur Train.
It also used non-digital activities including books and foam shapes, designed to support the growth of math understanding.
Centre for Children and Technology
Shelley Pasnik, vice president and director of the Center for Children and Technology said that the study gave a better understanding of the contribution that transmedia resources can make to early larning.
"Children living in traditionally under-resourced communities were able to build foundational math skills when given necessary support, in this case engaging digital content, opportunities to practice both on and away from screens, and knowledgeable adults—leaving them better prepared for kindergarten," Pasnik said.
Carlin Llorente of the SRI noted that although early achievement in math has was recognized as a strong predictor of later school achievement, preschool teachers had received limited resources and training to enable them to support the subject.
"The study's positive findings are the direct result of giving teachers resources that support the vital role they play in orchestrating children's learning experiences with media," Llorente said.
The 2013 study was funded by the U.S. Department of Education through a Ready To Learn grant to CPB and PBS. The initiative was developed to enhance the reach of, and access to, innovative early math experiences for U.S. children, especially those from low-income families, who often fall behind in mathematics skills at an early age and have difficulty catching up.
San Francisco Latest
stories of interest from around San Francisco