Tech in the Early Years

Author Profile: Michael H. Levine

Michael H. Levine

Michael H. Levine

Michael H. Levine, PhD
Executive Director
Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop


Michael H. Levine, PhD, is the Founding Director of the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, an independent non-profit organization based at Sesame Workshop. The center conducts research, and builds multi-sector partnerships to scale innovation and investment in promising educational media technologies for children. Prior to joining the Center, Michael served as Vice President for Asia Society, managing the global nonprofit’s interactive media and educational initiatives to promote knowledge and understanding of other world regions and cultures. Michael previously oversaw Carnegie Corporation of New York’s groundbreaking work in early childhood development, educational media, and primary grades reform and was a senior advisor to the New York City Schools Chancellor.

Michael has been a frequent adviser to the U.S. Department of Education and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, writes for public affairs journals, and appears frequently in the media. He writes a regular column for Huffington Post, and regularly keynotes conferences focused on child development, learning and digital media. He was named by Working Mother magazine as one of America’s most influential leaders in family and children’s policy. He serves on numerous nonprofit boards, including Classroom, Inc., Forum for Youth Investment, We Are Family Foundation, PBS’ Next Generation Learning Media, DigiLearn, the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences and Journeys in Film. Michael received his PhD in Social Policy from Brandeis University’s Florence Heller School and his BS from Cornell University.


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

When used well, digital media can enable access to information and stories, while also connecting schools, teachers, students, and families within neighborhoods, around the nation and around the world. Blogging, social networking, podcasting, instant messaging, posting to newsgroups or boards, and the Internet itself have brought new ways to connect, collaborate, and share, transforming the way we live and work. Together, these advances have led to the emergence of what has been called a new “participatory culture.” This culture simultaneously requires a host of new literacy skills and affords a dramatic re-envisioning of learning environments for both children and teachers. Even young children are able to not only access but also produce content that can be shared and reacted to by a community beyond the classroom. New technologies also offer possibilities for augmenting traditional approaches to instruction, as well as providing more assistance to parents. They can help us develop mixed models that blend in-school and informal, out of-school learning.

From Chapter 8, Pioneering Literacy in the Digital Age by Lisa Guernsey and Michael H. Levine


TEC Center Webinar Author Series: Pioneering Literacy in the Digital Age with Lisa Guernsey and Michael Levine

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.


Advancing Learning in the Digital Age, Keynote talk at the Hourglass Foundation, March 2014

Digital Play and your Children’s Health at the Leman School, November 2013

Learning at Home: Family’s Educational Media Use in America – opening remarks, January 2014

On IQ Smart Parent, February 2014

Recent Publications

Levine, MH and Vaala, SE (2013). Games for Learning: Vast Wasteland or a Digital Promise? New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 2013: 71–82. doi: 10.1002/cad.20033

Takeuchi, L., & Levine, MH (2014). Learning in a digital age: Towards a new ecology of human development. In A. Jordan & D. Romer (Eds.), Media and the well-being of children and adolescents. New York: Oxford University Press.

 Learning at Home: Can Educational Media Jump-Start Learning in America?, Huffington Post, January 24, 2014

Pioneering Literacy in the Digital Wild West: Empowering Parents and Educators by Lisa Guernsey, Michael H. Levine, Cynthia Chiong & Maggie Stevens, Joan Ganz Cooney Center, December 10, 2012.

Playful Learning and Rigorous Assessment: Can We Level-Up the Common Core? Huffington Post, July 23, 2104.

Sesame Street Meets the App Age: How to Nurture Creative Learning by Björn Jeffery and Michael H. Levine, KQED Mind/Shift blog, May 6, 2013.

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