Use of Technology to Support Head Start Practice

​Technology has become increasingly prevalent in early care and education settings, yet little is known about the effectiveness, function, and requirements for technologies that are available to early childhood programs. As such, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Office of Planning Research and Evaluation (OPRE) contracted with NORC at the University of Chicago to review the knowledge base related to the use of technology to support the practice of early childhood practitioners who work directly with children and families.

The review examined uses of technology among four Topic Areas of interest to OPRE. The first three Topic Areas focused on early childhood practitioners' use of technology to support 1) instruction and assessment, 2) parent, family and community engagement (PFCE), and 3) professional development and informal learning. The fourth Topic Area outlined barriers to and facilitators of practitioners' effective use of technology to support early childhood practice. NORC employed three methods to complete the review: a bottom-up web search to obtain a broad sampling of both common and cutting-edge uses of technology; a top-down search of academic databases to establish an evidence-base for the technologies; and interviews with experts who have built, used, or evaluated these technologies.

The results of the review are provided in two formats: a final report containing detailed descriptions of technologies and sample uses within each of the Topic Areas, and three interactive research-to-practice briefs oriented towards early childhood program administrators. Each of the products and their supporting materials are available via hyperlinks under“Data and Findings.”