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Sesame Street as the First MOOC; What Can be Learned for Preschool Ed

Sesame Street as the First MOOC; What Can be Learned for Preschool Ed

Preschool education is one of the biggest topics on the education agenda for the 2016 presidential election. As policy makers seek to provide universal preschool education for all in hopes of leveling the academic playing field, CBS News looks at what can be learned for what it calls the very first MOOC (Massive Online Open Course)- Sesame Street.

Recent research from economists Melissa Kearney and Phillip Levine took a look at Sesame Street as a MOOC and found two important messages for how such programming can provide access to early education to all at a fraction of the cost as traditional classrooms.

The research importantly found that, "[f]irst, early childhood intervention and the availability of universal prekindergarten programs do help prepare students from disadvantaged backgrounds for elementary school education. That's a key finding," said CBS News.

It found that children who watched Sesame Street and had good reception of the program were more likely to perform better throughout elementary school, though there were inconclusive findings about the effect watching the programming had on the children that in life.

But that's still a huge finding, nonetheless, because it indicates MOOCs, which can educate a child for just $5 a year, could be the future of "universal preschool."

"[ahough the Sesame Street effect appears to wane after the initial treatment, the authors provide several suggestions for how to make the improvements more permanent. One is to provide follow-up treatments -- educational booster shots -- throughout the elementary school years instead of a single prekindergarten exposure."

The most important take-away from the research, according to CBS News, and the implication for the future is that for one, preschool education is a factor in academic achievement. And for two, MOOCs can be a successful way of providing early education for a fraction of the cost to benefit low-income communities and minority children as a means to level the academic playing field.

Read the full story here and comment with your thoughts below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

07/30/2015

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