With mobile technology rapidly becoming as common as pencils and paper in U.S. classrooms, early education researchers are debating what is appropriate for the youngest learners. To help answer that question, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) has been awarded a grant that allows ten of its early childhood classrooms to launch a pilot program of Hatch iStartSmart Mobile devices.
“We are excited to participate in the pilot program with Hatch to further ignite a passion for lifelong learning in our students,” said Beth Mascitti-Miller, CPS Chief Officer of Early Childhood Education. “Early childhood is a critical time for academic development and these tablets will serve as helpful tools in engaging our youngest learners.”
CPS was selected through a nationwide application process sponsored by Hatch®. Each classroom in the pilot will be outfitted with three tablets that feature the Hatch® iStartSmart learning system, providing children with activities that engage them in mastering skills for kindergarten readiness and early school success. The Hatch® Report Management system also allows teachers and administrators to monitor device usage and refocus activities for children who need added instruction in particular skill areas.
Hatch® provided onsite professional development in August for teachers involved in the pilot and administrators supporting this project. The training focused on ways to implement mobile technology to an early childhood classroom and how to evaluate its effectiveness.
Three additional early childhood programs across the country will be piloting iStartSmart Mobile tablets in six classrooms: Elizabeth Public Schools, New Jersey; Granite School District Preschool Services, Utah; and Honolulu Community Action Program, Hawaii.