The Joan Ganz Cooney Center

Asking how emerging media can help children learn-and finding answers.

Ahead of the game: accelerating education for a digital age.

In 1969, Joan Ganz Cooney and her colleagues launched Sesame Street, harnessing the power of television to educate underserved preschoolers. Forty years later, a new center was established in the same spirit of courageous experimentation. The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop focuses on the challenges of educating children in the rapidly changing media landscape of the 21st century.

This pioneering “think-and-do tank” is advancing the cause of digital learning on multiple fronts—from supporting research into emerging education technology to collaborating with tech companies and media producers to put this research into action. The Center is also informing the national debate on media and education, spurring new development and needed policy reforms. In its recent forum, “Learning From Hollywood,” the Center convened more than 200 thought leaders from research, government, education, and industry to help direct the next wave of technology-led learning.

The Cooney Center’s efforts hinge on a central question: How can digital media help children learn? To find answers, the Center is focused on improving foundational skills such as reading and writing, while investigating “new literacies” for a new century—areas like inter-cultural understanding, digital literacy, and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning. By finding ways to foster these skills using the latest technology, the Cooney Center is preparing children to compete and cooperate in a hyper-connected world.