Episode 869 - The Fred Rogers Center Daddy Clay chats with Michael Robb, Director of Education and Research at the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children's Media. The FRC helps parents and educators deal with their concerns about the rapid pace of technology change and media exposure for young children. They are working with the National Association for the Education of Young Children to develop healthy ways to integrate technology into the early learning environment. The center has resources for early learning educators, families, child care providers including their recently launched site called "The Early Learning Environment." This site encourages parents and educators to share media and technology based resources, videos, games, eBooks, and other interactive tools. The Fred Rogers Center is primarily focused on children from birth to age 5. They bring in experts from various tech-industry areas including research, policy, advocacy, and education, to help find ways to use technology to support early childhood development.
Daddy Brad: [singing] It's a beautiful day in this neighborhood, a beautiful day in this neighbor... Would you be mine, could you be mine?Hey neighbor! Daddy Clay sat down with Michael Robb at the Fred Rogers Institute for Early Learning and Children's Media, and here's what he had to say. Check it out![music]Daddy Clay: So tell me about this latest article that's come out of the institute and why it should be of interest to parents.Michael Robb: The article that we put out is a summation of some of the issues we commonly hear, in our work at the Fred Rogers Center. People have I think a lot of concerns about the rapid pace of technological change, about the level of media exposure that children seem to have.At the Fred Rogers Center, we recently issued, in conjunction with another organization called The National Association for the Education of Young Children, a position statement, basically, about how technology and media can be integrated in healthy ways and early learning environments. That is, we want people to be able to think about how technology fits into their lives.Also, not just ask the question "is technology a good thing or a bad thing?" which is a very oftentimes simplistic argument that doesn't really get at the meat of what I think is the issue, which is "how do you use technology in good ways?" Technology is in a lot of the ways very... It's neutral. So, how you use it is going to affect the impact that it has far more than whether you use it.Daddy Clay: Is the Fred Rogers Institute something that is exclusively for educators and professionals, or are there resources there for parents, and what's the best way for parents to access those resources?Michael: The Fred Rogers Center has resources for families, for family and home child care providers, and for teachers, early learning educators. The one that we just released is a website called the Early Learning Environment. This is an online space where we encourage those families and teachers to come together and access and share different resources, primarily media and technology based resources. So videos, games, eBooks, other kinds of interactive tools.The Fred Rogers Center has been around since 2003. Fred Rogers himself was overseeing the development of the center before he passed away. The point of the Fred Rogers Center is to evaluate new and ongoing issues related to children, and technology and media, by helping to build bridges between some of the major sectors.So things like research, education, advocacy, policy, bringing together experts from those various arenas. We're really focused on the age group of birth to age five, which was also the age group which Fred was very interested in. It's very much based in Fred's own belief in the positive potential of technology to support healthy child development.Daddy Brad: Well that is pretty cool! I enjoyed that interview, and I enjoyed being here with you. I'll see you next time on DadLabs.com.[singing] It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day...