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Dallas ISD Using Tablets To Beef Up Pre-K Math and ELA Skills

hatch shell game for prek

As a means to help preschoolers advance their math and literacy skills before entering kindergarten, Dallas Independent School District is putting 171 new specialty tablets into classrooms.

The Hatch iStartSmart tablets feature Shell Squad Games, which focus on early math and literacy concepts such as sorting, letter recognition, and early vocabulary lessons. A game might, for example, provide students with three pictures and ask them to identify a particular piece of fruit, or a distinguish between big and small animals. Student progress and device usage is captured and transmitted to a central repository where teachers can analyze a number of different reports.

District teachers who will be using the new tablets will also attend an all-day on-site training program by the company. Sixteen other teachers will receive additional training designed to let them guide colleagues during the rollout.

The tablet’s curriculum is only in English for now, but next year Dallas ISD will introduce a Spanish language add-on for use with native Spanish speakers and in dual language classrooms.  

"Kindergarten readiness has become essential in setting our children up for learning success now and later in life," said Alan Cohen, the district’s executive director of early childhood education in a statement. "By partnering with Hatch, their research-supported programs, and their commitment to supporting our teachers, we are ensuring that our Pre-K learners are given a greater opportunity to succeed in education, regardless of their circumstance or special need."

About the Author

Stephen Noonoo is an education technology journalist based in Los Angeles. He is on Twitter @stephenoonoo.

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