Cooney Center Report Examines Educational Media Use in Hispanic-Latino Families

As previously reported, projections from the National Center for Education Statistics show for the first time ever U.S. public schools will have more minority students than non-Hispanic white students. This shift comes largely from growth in the number of Hispanic children attending school—about 25% of the students. As part of its commitment to understanding this growing population, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center examined media use in Hispanic-Latino families with children ages 2-10 in the United States. Aprendiendo en Casa: Media as a Learning Tool among Hispanic-Latino Families shows the unique needs of this segment and found that “educational content is often fodder for dialog, imaginative play, and asking questions regardless of the language spoken at home.”

Key Findings

  • Access differed by language, with Spanish-only families experiencing least access to digital technologies. Hispanic-Latino families most commonly accessed educational content through television rather than via the computer, video games, or mobile devices.
  • Most parents of children who were regular users of educational media reported that their child learned academic skills from media, particularly in reading or vocabulary
  • Parents who often used digital technology for learning had children who used educational media more often, highlighting an important association between parents’ and children’s media use.
  • Educational media often catalyzed other interest-driven learning opportunities for children, such as initiating dialogue, imaginative play, and asking questions. For parents from Spanish-only homes, educational media also enabled their child to teach them something new
  • Hispanic-Latino parents—especially Spanish-only speakers—want more information about media for their young child.

Implications for learning resource developers include providing resources in formats other than digital due to limited access, developing more mobile content that serves Hispanic-Latino families, and continuing to create strong educational content on television, particularly for children in bilingual or Spanish-speaking families.

Access the report, Aprendiendo en Casa: Media as a Learning Tool among Hispanic-Latino Families, from the Joan Ganz Cooney Center.

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Digital Issues