What's Working: Preschoolers Go Digital

Four schools in Mobile County have gone high tech, thanks to a huge grant from the Kellogg Foundation and the University of Southern Mississippi. Students at Maryvale, Morningside, O'Rourke, and Just 4 Developmental Laboratory each received a tablet to use at school.  Professor Julie Cwikla at USM received a $900,000 grant from the Kellogg Foundation to provide 700 tablets for the students. USM will follow the students progress throughout the next several years.

News 5 stopped by Just 4 Developmental Laboratory to check out how the students were using the tablets. The tablets are loaded with the Speakaboo App, which is a literacy app. The app can read to the student, or the student can read age-appropriate stories.  Many of the stories use popular characters like Thomas the Train, superheroes, or even unicorns.

Student Karlee Cants smiled as she read about unicorns. "I am learning to ride a unicorn," she said.

Teacher, Brittni Burch, is embracing the new technology in the classroom. "We have the app, Speakaboo, where they can read or listen to stories. We plan to use them in centers or go to the cozy cube and read."   Burch plans to do even more continuing education on additional ways to integrate technology into the classroom.

Principal, Monique Baugh, says they are thankful for the gift of the tablets. "These kids are tech-savy by the age of 18 months. Everything is technology-based. The earlier we can engulf them in technology, the better we will be."

Teachers at some schools will allow students to check out the tablets for home use.

Mobile County

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Northwest Florida