iStartSmart Mobile, from Hatch, is an early learning tablet that comes pre-loaded with Hatch’s early learning software and apps. It monitors child progress as they play, showing teachers exactly what each child knows.
Teachers can view 18 core skill areas and see how students, individually or as a class, are learning. Progress monitoring reports help teachers identify areas where children need additional reinforcement.
Schools in the Chicago area have implemented the iStartSmart Mobile to help benefit at-risk children. At Stephen K. Hayt Elementary School, pre-k teacher Fontane Thomas has used the tablet since October of 2012.
The tablets are particularly helpful with ELL students. “I am able…to walk them through a series of activities to see if they are gaining the skills I want them to learn,” Thomas said. “This is important to reducing the technology gap and the achievement gap because it actually supplements what is happening in the classroom.
“Pre-k students often feed on the excitement of their facilitator, so when they see my excitement about technology, it’s going to transfer to them,” he said. The tablets engage students and make it easier for Thomas to sit one-on-one and move through activities with his students.
And using the Report Management System, Thomas can view a list of his students and how their skill levels are developing. The system gives him information about what each student worked on, how much time the student spent on the skill, and whether or not the student needs additional reinforcement. If additional work is needed, Thomas instructs the software to refocus the student on a particular area to help the student improve those specified skills.
The West Aurora School District also is using the iStartSmart Mobile tablets. Laurie Klomhaus, principal at Todd Early Childhood Center, is in charge of 11 classrooms with many students who are English Language learners or who have special needs.
The tablets, she said, are beneficial because they offer “insight into what is happening in the classroom,” which Klomhaus said “helps to guide my decisions about the professional development needs of my staff.”