When it comes to incorporating a digital platform into your early learning program, there are a few important things to keep in mind.
Last week, during our webinar session, "Best Practices to Ensure a Seamless Early Learning Digital Platform Implementation," we spoke to two education leaders about their own journey incorporating digital technologies into classrooms. Therese Hunt, Ed.D., the Head Start/Preschool Education Supervisor for Early Childhood Programs for Butler County ESC in Ohio, and Consuelo Casas, HCHSP Administrator for Education for the Hidalgo County Head Start Program in Texas, recently incorporated Ignite by Hatch™ into their learning programs.
To help other educators incorporate digital tools into their learning programs, they offer these five tips to ensure a seamless and successful implementation.
5 Best Practices to Ensure a Seamless Early Learning Digital Platform Implementation
1. Start small.
Hunt suggests starting small with a pilot program composed of a few early adopters. When her learning program implemented Ignite, eight classrooms were chosen and regular meetings were held during the five-month trial to not only troubleshoot,
but also to give teachers time to embrace Ignite and overcome any fears they may have about introducing new technology into the classroom.
2. Set up a team.
For both Hunt and Casas, setting up a team to manage program implementation was critical. The members of your team serve as training coaches and provide support to teachers throughout implementation and beyond. Of course, your team won’t know everything, admits Casas, but if they have a clear understanding of program goals and expectations, implementation will be a success.
“One person can’t do it alone,” says Casas. “It has to be a team.”
3. Include parents.
Parents are key to a child’s learning success with digital platforms, especially Ignite, which kids are encouraged to play at home. Hunt suggests taking the time to explain the purpose of the platform to parents, even encouraging them to create a learning corner at home for their kids to engage with the platform.
“Once we empower them, we’re teaching them how to be parents of students,” says Hunt.
4. Make it a daily practice.
Once training was complete, Casas and Hunt made sure Ignite was integrated with intention into their program’s daily instruction. This way Ignite became second nature for teachers, and children wouldn’t even think twice about engaging in the platform.
“It just needs to come like you're putting on your socks or you're putting on your coat,” says Hunt. “It just needs to come naturally.”
5. Use the data.
Data is a great gift to educators and Ignite makes it easy to access. With real-time data reports, teachers and program leaders like Casas and Hunt can see how much time each child is engaging with Ignite and ensure the platform is being used with fidelity.
“You can zero in on those areas of need,” says Casas. “Then you begin to see more and more progress.”
To learn more about how to implement Ignite into your learning program, watch the full webinar recording below.