Tech in the Early Years

Author Profile: Alexis Lauricella

Image courtesy of Alexis Lauricella

Alexis R. Lauricella 

Alexis R. Lauricella
Associate Director, Center on Media and Human Development
Lecturer, Department of Communications Studies
Northwestern University


Alexis R. Lauricella is the Associate Director of the Center on Media and Human Development at Northwestern University and a Lecturer in the department of Communication Studies.  Dr. Lauricella earned her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology and her Master’s degree in Public Policy from Georgetown University.  Her research focuses on children’s learning from media and parents’ and teachers’ attitudes toward and use of media with young children. Recent publications include empirical research articles in Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, Computers & Education, Journal of Children and Media, Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media; Media Psychology, Merrill Palmer Quarterly and reports for the Fred Rogers Center and the Center on Media and Human Development.  Dr. Lauricella is also the founder of, a website that translates child-development research for parents.


Excerpt from Technology and Digital Media in the Early Years: Tools for Teaching and Learning

With decades of research and scientific understanding of child development and more than 40 years of science and study of children’s television use, a research literature has been established around the intersections of child development and traditional media technology. However, with the introduction of new technologies devices and applications, questions about developmentally appropriate usage of technology arise frequently, especially when it comes to use with younger children. A joint position statement of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at Saint Vincent College (2012) acknowledges the many issues surrounding the use of technology and interactive media in early childhood programs as well as the potential opportunities. While serving as a starting point for guiding the developmentally appropriate integration of digital tools in early childhood programs, the statement notes that more research needs to be done on the impact of technology, especially newer technologies, on children’s learning and development, but there are ways in which educators can utilize what is known about more traditional media platforms to make smart media choices regarding new media devices.

From Chapter 6 Connecting Child Development and Technology: What We Know and What It Means by Michael B. Robb and Alexis R. Lauricella

Dr. Lauricella shares her Teacher Takeaways with Chip Donohue, Editor of Technology and Digital Media in the Early Years: Tools for Teaching and Learning.

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TEC Center Authors Webinar Series: Connecting Child Development and Technology: What We Know and What It Means with Alexis Lauricella and Michael Robb

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Note: You can view the slides from the webinar or the playback from the webinar. To view the playback you will be prompted to register.

Recent Publications

Blackwell, C., Lauricella, A., & Wartella, E. (2014). Factors Influencing digital technology use in early education. Computers and Education, 77, 82-90.

Blackwell, C., Lauricella, A., Wartella, E., Robb, M., & Schomburg, R. (2013). Adoption and Use of Technology in Early Education: The interplay of extrinsic barriers and teacher attitudesComputers and Education, 69, 310-319.

Lauricella, A. R., Barr, R. F., & Calvert, S. L. (2009). Emerging computer skills. Journal of Children and Media, 3(3), 217–233. doi:10.1080/17482790902999892

Lauricella, A. R., Barr, R. & Calvert, S. (2014). Parent-child interactions during traditional and computer storybook reading predict children’s story comprehension.  International Journal of Children-Computer Interaction. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijcci.2014.07.001

Lauricella, A. R., Gola, A. A. H., & Calvert, S. L. (2011). Toddlers’ learning from socially meaningful video characters. Media Psychology, 14(2), 216–232. doi:10.1080/15213269.2011.573465

Lauricella, A. R., Pempek, T. A., Barr, R., & Calvert, S. L. (2010). Contingent computer interactions for young children’s object retrieval success. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 31 (5), 362-369. doi: 10.1016/j.appdev.2010.06.002

Wartella, E. Kirkpatrick, E., Rideout, V., Lauricella, A. & Connell, S. (December 2013). Media, Technology, and Reading in Hispanic Families: A National Survey REVISED.

Wartella, E., Rideout, V., Lauricella, A., & Connell, S. (2013). Parenting in the Age of Digital Technology: A National Survey. Report of the Center on Media and Human Development, School of Communication, Northwestern University.

Wartella, E., Blackwell, C., Lauricella, A., & Robb, M. (Summer 2013). Technology in the Lives of Teachers: Survey of Early Childcare Providers. Report for the Fred Rogers Center.


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