Tag Archives: toddlers and tablets

New Media Journalism Technology Toddlers and Tablets

Discussing Tablets vs Textbooks in GA Schools

This article will serve as an introduction to my Capstone Project for the New Media Journalism Masters Program at Full Sail University.

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New Media Journalism Technology Toddlers and Tablets

iStartSmart Tablets Add New Learning Suite For iPad

Photo Credit: Hatch: The Early Learning Experts
Photo Credit: Hatch: The Early Learning Experts

Hatch: The Early Learning Experts has recently launched the newest addition to the iStartSmart Tablets, the iPad Learning Suite. Hatch is said to have broadened the horizons on how children are able to learn in the 21st century classroom.

These are students at Love T. Nolan Elementary School who are using the iStartSmart Tablet in a small group. Photo Credit: Amanda Golden
These are students at Love T. Nolan Elementary School who are using the iStartSmart Tablet in a small group. Photo Credit: Amanda Golden

The iStartSmart iPad Learning Suite is available in the Apple Store for free and includes all of the popular “Shell Squad Games” that teachers currently utilize in classrooms around the world.

In a previous article entitled “How iStartSmart Tablets Help Child Development,” you were told about the iStartSmart Tablet. This tablet, according to Hatch: The Early Learning Experts, “is the learning tablet that fascinates and engages” and is now a learning system that can be downloaded to a device other than the Hatch Tablets to help more students improve in the classroom.

Teacher assisting a child with the iStartSmart Tablet.  Photo Credit: Hatch: The Early Learning Experts
Teacher assisting a child with the iStartSmart Tablet.
Photo Credit: Hatch: The Early Learning Experts

Keenya Glover, a parent of a special-needs student in first grade says, “I think it’s a necessity! Due to the technology evolving at a rapid rate, children need to get ahead of the game.” With this program, children are taught the skills needed to prepare them for the next level.  Glover continued by saying, “using digital technology ASAP enhances the brain” so when her son began using the program at age three, she was very encouraged at the rate of his educational advancement.

The iStartSmart iPad Learning Suite still contains the same features as mentioned in my previous article; however, it is reported only available on the “Apple iPad Generation 2 or later.”  This makes it easier on many schools who have already integrated the iPad into their schools to incorporate Hatch Technology.

This is a child holding the iPad on the main student screen. Photo Credit: Hatch: The Early Learning Experts
This is a child holding the iPad on the main student screen. Photo Credit: Hatch: The Early Learning Experts

Hatch’s article followed up by saying that before the system rewards the child with more advanced activities, it wants to make sure that the skill has been demonstrated correctly. This is what separates the iStartSmart Learning System from other educational applications on digital devices. The program is designed so that “if a child struggles with an activity, the system will automatically intervene to help them move forward, or to refocus them on other skill levels necessary to master increasingly difficult concepts.”

These are the main characters of The Shell Squad Games  Photo Credit: Hatch: The Early Learning Experts
These are the main characters of The Shell Squad Games
Photo Credit: Hatch: The Early Learning Experts

 

 

 

Let’s meet the stars of this award-winning educational learning suite: Cami the Cameleon, Henry the Duck, and Platty the Platypus. According to the Hatch website, these characters “guide the child-directed play.” The characters guide the children on many adventures to enhance the typical lesson taught in the classroom. 

Original Infographic created by: Amanda Golden  Information was gathered from research by Hatch: The Early Learning Experts
Original Infographic created by: Amanda Golden
Information was gathered from research by Hatch: The Early Learning Experts

 

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New Media Journalism Toddlers and Tablets

How iStartSmart Tablets Help Child Development

iStartSmart Tablets 

According to Hatch: The Early Learning Experts, the “iStartSmart Mobile is the learning tablets that fascinates and engages” children as they learn throughout the day based on research proven applications and software that monitor the progress as they go. If a student is struggling with a concept, the program allows for the teacher to go in and “refocus” by using the Progress Monitoring Reports incorporated into the system for more efficient learning.

Research shows that the iStartSmart program was created to help aid the key components that “promote positive experiences and school readiness.” Among these components are:

  1. Child Development
  2. Effective Early Childhood Education Practices

  3. Critical Content for School Readiness
  4. Developmentally Appropriate Educational Technology

diagram-istartsmart-300

One of the most innovative things about the iStartSmart Learning System (app suite and the tablet) “is that teachers can monitor the progress of each student in real time!” The progress monitoring of the iStartSmart System allows for teachers to take “snapshots of a child’s progress throughout the year”, exclaimed Brent. Instead of teachers having to remember which child did what at the end of the day the “unbiased data” from the program is right there to show when needed.

Hatch: Early Learning Experts concluded that, “for technology to be meaningful in early education, it must provide opportunities for children to gain the essential skills that prepare them for school.”

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Toddlers and Tablets

How iPads Impact Child Development

In a world where technology is rapidly advancing many are beginning to “plug in” to the Smart Technology sooner than ever. “Technology’s impact on the 21st century family is fracturing its very foundation, and causing a disintegration of core values that long ago were the fabric that held families together”, stated Cris Rowan, contributing writer for Huffington Post.

LeapPad 2 Explorer by Leap Frog Tablet for ages 3-9. Photo Taken in Wal-Mart Shopping Center. Photo Credit: Amanda Golden
LeapPad 2 Explorer by Leap Frog Tablet for ages 3-9. Photo Taken in Wal-Mart Shopping Center. Photo Credit: Amanda Golden

According to pbs.org, “for school-age children, a smartphone or tablet can give them an additional learning layer, beyond the traditional classroom or book.” Fulton County Schools Kindergarten Teacher, Paula Gehring says she uses the iPad in conjunction with her normal lesson plans daily to “motivate the children.” Gehring continues by saying, “many parents park their children in front of TV, computer, Kindle/Nook/ iPad instead of interacting with the children and their social skills are suffering.” This makes it harder to get the children to “share” the devices when used for learning in the school.

Cris Rowan, Pediatric Occupational Therapist, contributing writer for Huffington Post, and Author of “Virtual Child – The terrifying truth about what technology is doing to children”, says that she “unplugged” her “son Matt when he was 12…threw out his TV, cancelled cable, tossed the Commodore 64 and Atari.” Rowan also tells other “parents that ANY exposure to technology is detrimental to cognitive, physical, mental and social development.”

InnoTab 2 Display at Wal-Mart in Fayetteville. They are marketing tablet learning to children at an early age. Photo Credit: Amanda Golden
InnoTab 2 Display at Wal-Mart in Fayetteville. They are marketing tablet learning to help with child development. Photo Credit: Amanda Golden

Movement, touch, human connection and exposure to nature are four very critical components that are “necessary to achieve healthy child development” Rowan mentions in her article. And by choosing to “unplug” her children at an early age, as adults, they both feel “technology is largely a waste of time”. When technology is involved the skills needed for a child to develop are “grossly limited”.

However, South Carolina Parent, Keenya Glover, says that her 7-year-old son’s “iPad is considered his voice.” He began using it 2 years ago and she has seen a “tremendous boost in his level of communication.” Glover goes on to say that because her son is special needs, he is not able to communicate so the program he was able to use at school at an early age “enables him to communicate at school and home.” She continues by saying that if her son had not been introduced to the iPad at an early age; he would not be as far as he is now with his communication skills.

Nyjel Glover outside in South Carolina. Photo Credit Amanda Golden
Nyjel Glover a special needs child who uses the iPad to communicate with his friends, outside in South Carolina. Photo Credit Amanda Golden

According to the Autism Spectrum Disorder Foundation, “The world for an autistic child is full of imagery, rather than words. On an iPad, an autistic child can create a sentence or even story using a series of images. By doing so, the child can communicate with parents, caretakers, and instructors without frustration. Since the iPad is mobile, children with autism can take this communication tool wherever they go.” Since the iPad is a portable device that they can take wherever they go; the autistic child will constantly “have ways to calm, focus, and learn while on-the-go.

 

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New Media Journalism

Profile: Rachel Brent of Hatch Early Childhood

Social Media Specialist, Hatch Early Childhood
Rachel Brent-Social Media Specialist, Hatch Early Childhood

“I’ve always had a knack for talking to everyone so being in charge of social media and community management for a company just made sense.”- Rachel Brent

Born to an Elementary School Speech Pathologist, Rachel Brent has always taken interest to the education field. Spending the vast majority of her life around teachers, one would say it is in her blood to be in this field.

When asked what made her want to get into the social media field she stated, “I’ve always had a knack for talking to everyone so being in charge of social media and community management for a company just made sense.”

Rachel has her undergraduate degree in Advertising from the University of Georgia and her master’s in Interactive Media from Elon University. Upon finishing her degrees she found her job at Hatch when it showed up as a suggested job on LinkedIn. This was the first  interview she ever had where she knew all of her hard work in school had paid off. She would be getting a job that she was not only qualified for but that she actually desired to do. This is one of the best feelings in the world when the American Dream, your dream is actually going to come true.

As the Social Media Specialist for Hatch, Rachel wears a lot of hats! She manages the social media, interacts with the online community, creates editorial calendars, writes engaging content, as well as builds relationships with industry leaders. On top of everything else Rachel is tasked with, she also runs the Expert Series webinars, ghost write blog posts, educate the rest of the company on social best practices, write e-books and do a little bit of coding, copywriting, and graphic design on the side. She is a woman of many talents that deserves to be highlighted. It was very interesting to find out this information about all that she does and still is able to find a little time for herself at the end of the day.

Coworker Johnathan Russell (Online Marketer + Developer + Designer) praised the work of Rachel in a recommendation on her LinkedIn page by stating that, “Rachel brings the highest level of creativity and energy to every project she is involved in. She is an asset to the team and pure joy to work with. Her out-of-the-box thinking is taking Hatch Online Marketing to a new level. She possesses a wide range of talents and skills sets that are rare coming right out of college. She has a bright future ahead of her.”

Rachel truly does have a very bright future ahead of her, very efficient, knowledgeable and is always willing to lend a helping hand. It is no surprise that Hatch Early Childhood snatched her up back in May to work for their company!

Hatch is located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and targets the younger aged children but is also of a lot of help in its focus on teacher frustration points.  During the interview, Rachel mentioned that these universal points were things like: shrinking budgets, more paperwork, teaching to tests (less curriculum flexibility), more trouble with parents, and increased work for less pay. By having an understanding of all of those on top of what a child needs to grow and develop you have the company by the name of Hatch Early Learning!

Rachel also gave a lot of insight on whether or not technology would one day replace the need for basic skills like going outside to play. Hatch has just launched a product line called Hatch Outdoor, which ironically has nothing to do with technology. This product re-enforces the point of view that learning takes on a deeper meaning when it goes outdoors. Hatch is a strong advocate of technology being used in a structured manner where it is a part of the learning style not the entire way of teaching.

“Technology will NEVER replace the value of face-to-face interaction and the power of play, it can only help it.”- Rachel Brent

This quote was a very powerful statement that all should remember. Technology is introduced as a helpmate to the other learning styles not as a replacement. Rachel feels that when technology is used as part of a curriculum, not as a baby sitter, technology can only enhance the excellent, traditional methods of teaching that educators have been using for years.

Two fun facts about Rachel Brent and Hatch Early Learning

  • One of Rachel’s favorite topics to discuss is Social Emotional Learning, which coincidentally was the topic of her first e-book.
  • Her favorite gadget(s) that the company has developed are the iStartSmart Table and the tablet bumper.

Many happy users have left testimonials on the Hatch Webpage confirming this viewpoint. Jennifer CihakKindergarten Educator stated,  “iStartSmart computers are the best investment you can make! Computers are finally easy to use & with iStartSmart I can easily monitor each child’s overall progress.” This is just one example of a teacher incorporating the technology into her daily lesson plans and monitoring the progress of her students.

Rachel closed the interview by leaving 5 pieces of advice for people who are aspiring to one day be in her position:

  1. Be flexible but be firm about boundaries. I work hard while I’m at work, but when I leave, I put my phone away and don’t check my email. I’m lucky in that aspect, and I’m lucky that my manager respects that. Most community managers have a 25/7/365 job.
  2. Always be willing to listen and learn, you’ll find tips in very unexpected places.
  3. Be patient. This type of job is new, a lot of people don’t understand what a community manager does and thinks it’s just about playing on Facebook all day. It’s some of that, but what makes me different than their child, or nephew, or any other young person that you can pull off the street is that I have the communication theory from my education that informs my decisions on social. Before I started my job Hatch had three interns running their social who were in the business school at Wake Forest. They did a great job getting everything set up, building our audience, and maintaining a consistent presence on social media, but I would argue that the conversation was one sided on our part.
  4. Be as kind as possible and LISTEN. Even if someone frustrates the heck out of you, read their email with a smile, try to find the constructive criticism in the rant, and let it go. I struggle with this the most. Listen first and give every idea consideration, usually people are just trying to help even if it’s the worst idea you’ve ever heard. There still might be a good nugget in that terrible idea. If you have a great attitude and do your best, your team will be much more forgiving on that day when you do make a mistake (and that day will come!) It doesn’t matter if you’re brilliant at your job if no one likes you.
  5. Last bit of advice—if you don’t like coffee, you better learn to love it!

You may contact Rachel via email at rbrent@hatchearlychildhood.com for any further questions or information on the research done by Hatch and she will get it to the right place to answer you if she can’t answer it herself.

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