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IPAD OR IPLAY?

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By: Dr. Dale McManis, PhD, Research Director at Hatch Early Learning

What are the real differences between the iPad and tablets loaded with appropriate software applications for early education, like theiStartSmart® Mobile by Hatch? Do these differences really matter when you are choosing a tablet for kids to use in your classrooms? The answer depends on the age of the children, how the tablets will be used and your long-term goals.

An iPad might be a good fit if you are shopping for tablets for older children who can read and have more fully developed fine motor and reasoning abilities. Typically developing children in the early childhood period ( ages 3 to 8 ) are better served by tablet technology that includes applications to develop school readiness and early school success skills; content created with critical developmental stages in mind. The new position statement from the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media on the role of technology in early learning stresses the importance of choosing research-based, age-appropriate technology to create and monitor individual learning goals for young children.

altMany teachers are using iPads incorrectly and inappropriately, simply filling free time with a random assortment of downloaded, disconnected apps; and thereby creating an arcade-style learning environment that can result in cognitive and sensory overload and confusion for young children. Mobile technology created for early learners can complement classroom instruction when it uses research-based applications to teach early math and literacy skills in an individualized, intentional learning environment. Basically, if you are more focused on quantity rather than quality, then iPads are the way to go. You need to decide first though, if you are looking for a tool or a toy.

altEnvision integrating mobile technology into 21st Century Classrooms to change the way your teachers teach and your learners learn, transforming how your school or center operates. If you are interested in investing in tablets that will teach and reinforce school readiness skills and early schooling success, facilitate seamless intervention and scientifically (meaning accurately, carefully and dependably) capture individual progress monitoring data across an entire institution in real-time, you need to start looking at mobile tablets created especially for education.

Below is a comparison chart between the Apple iPad and the Hatch iStartSmart® Mobile tablet, pre-loaded with application software developed specifically for early learning classrooms.

Feature/Benefit

      alt

Apple iPad

Mobile Tablet Computer Hardware

iStartSmart® Shell Squad Games 2.0 application software

Child-safe desktop management utility

HATCH® Report Management System

Pre-installed and configured age-specific applications

Patent-Pending Face Recognition software for authentic, independent child log-on.  Simply touch the child’s face, and she’s logged on!

Award Winning:  Hatch’s iStartSmart system was recently awarded the 2011 Eddie Award for TouchScreen Solution for Early Learning

All activities selected based on the most rigorous research findings from the National Early Literacy Panel and National Research Council for Early Mathematics reports

Software applications correlated to state and national learning standards

Literacy & math activities provided to children based on their developmental learning level.  The logic in the software program evaluates their previous session and monitors their current progress while they play.

Real-time progress monitoring enables the teacher to individualize instruction based on where children are performing (emerging, developing, developed and maintenance) in 18 Skill Development areas.

At-a-glance reporting allows for instant lesson-planning.  Teachers have access to specific instructional support activities to implement in other areas of the classroom that match children’s monitored learning needs

Real photographs used in activities, as recommended for early learners to support authenticity, familiarity and general knowledge

Audio recorded by a Speech & Language Pathologist to ensure accurate pronunciation

Installation is included. Technology professionals frontload the system for you.

Professional development is provided. Consultants train you, your staff and teachers to use the new tablets effectively.

Lifetime access to a dedicated technical support team of early learning technicians whose only responsibility is to support teachers using Hatch technology in the classroom.

Children’s data is protected by an encrypted database.

All equipment is designed to withstand the rigorous early learning environment.

Each tablet comes enclosed in a rugged, protective, thick rubber bumper case that can be dropped from an adult waist with no damage to the unit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check back this Thursday, March 29 to read the second blog in this series, Top 15 Critical Questions You Should Answer before You Buy Tablet Technology for Your Early Learning Classrooms.