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Top Education Official in SLC Discussing Early Education and Technology

Tnvols2 via Wikimedia Commons

An official with the U.S. Department of Education is in Salt Lake City today talking about the impact technology has on young children. Dr. Libby Doggett is President Obama’s deputy assistant secretary of early education. She's at the Hilton Hotel speaking and taking questions.

Doggett’s presentation, called “High Tech Tots: Opportunities and Challenges” explores how ever-increasing screen time can both aid and impair early learning. But she’s focused on helping technology improve education for young people. 

Doggett is stressing the need for schools to keep pace with new technology as it enters the marketplace.

“The need for principals, center directors and administrators to really step up and help teachers get the training; help them figure out what kind of tech tools and apps will work in different classrooms,” Doggett says.

She says it’s important for educator’s to recognize the difference between good technology and junk technology, or passive technology like television.

“Certainly as we move more toward interactive technology that has great potential,” Doggett says. “I think the research is really clear that if it’s a passive technology that children don’t gain as much but if it’s interactive that that really is serving as a learning platform.”

Benj Heuston is President of the Waterford Institute located in Sandy. His organization, is hosting Dr. Doggett’s visit. Heuston says educators and policy makers must first decide what they want to achieve with new technology before putting it in kid’s hands. 

“One of the things that recently was proposed was for instance giving a device to every child in Utah. And one of the things that was very sketchy was what exactly would that device be used for? What are the actual learning outcomes that we’re anticipating that those devices would result in?” Heuston asks.

Doggett says in addition to Tuesday’s event, she’s visiting the Granite School District to learn about their preschool program, which has garnered national attention for its success. 

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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