WKAR Family Brings Playtime Pads to Lansing Kindergartners

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A new, fun, engaging way for kindergartners to learn math and for researchers to explore how students learn launched this week in the Lansing School District.

On Monday, Nov. 13, kindergartners at Lansing's Kendon Elementary School each received a PBS KIDS Playtime Pad loaded with educational games.

The event kicked off the Playtime Pad Research Project, which studies the effectiveness of tablet-based learning in early childhood math literacy, while providing access to the latest digital learning tools for students, teachers and parents.

“We are honored to be working with the Lansing School District on this exciting outreach program and tablet-based learning study,” said Susi Elkins, general manager at WKAR Public Media. “This project brings quality PBS educational games and programming from the PBS KIDS Playtime Pad to Lansing kindergartners through new technology that children love, and allows us to strengthen the community connection between MSU, WKAR and the Lansing schools."

WKAR Public Media is partnering with MSU's College of Communication Arts and Sciences, PBS KIDS, MSU's College of Education, and the Lansing School District to bring the Playtime Pads, and a unique research project, to more than 1,000 Lansing kindergartners.

“This project is about partnerships,” said Prabu David, dean of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences. “MSU, WKAR, Lansing schools and PBS KIDS have come together to empower our students, families and teachers by introducing a new technology in the classroom. I’m excited about the possibilities these tablets offer for instruction and research.”

The tablet students receive is a PBS KIDS Playtime Pad, designed to bring interactive educational children's programs and learning tools to young students using PBS KIDS learning initiatives. The tablets used in the study are customized to include a special Math Games Study app designed by PBS KIDS software developers in consultation with early childhood education researchers at MSU. The app includes a mix of math games.

By the end of December, all kindergartners in the Lansing School District will receive a PBS KIDS Playtime Pad. The Lansing School District is the largest public school district in mid-Michigan, with 17 elementary schools.

Funding for the project is provided by the National Science Foundation, the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, WKAR Public Media, Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies at MSU and the Lansing Rotary Foundation.