Use of technology in the classroom has been common place at Northeast Mississippi Community College for some time now, and as the pandemic continues to alter delivery of instruction across the country, it is more prevalent now more than ever before.

Soon, a new computer lab for children will open on Northeast’s Booneville campus, taking the use of technology for educational purposes to a new level.

Designed for children from birth to age five, the Children’s Learning Lab will be equipped with 20 iPads, 20 laptops and three desktop computers.

Northeast early childhood technical assistance coordinator Leslie Ward believes the potential for this new lab is practically limitless.

“This computer lab will give all children in northeast Mississippi a place to go for their distance learning needs,” Ward said.

“Whether they need access to the internet, a device or printer, or just a quiet place to go to complete their assignments away from distractions, the Children’s Learning Lab is available to all children in our area regardless of age.”

Funds allocated to Northeast from the CARES Act and the GEER Grant were used to complete this lab.

All resources loaded on to the devices in the lab are free to users and Ward believes parents and guardians of the children may benefit as well.

“Believe it or not, a lot of parents are struggling right now to meet the educational needs of their children,” Ward continued.

“I have spoken with several families who have grandparents that are caring for young children while their parents go to work. The Children’s Learning Lab at Northeast gives families free access to developmentally appropriate learning apps and website subscriptions. The iPads are loaded with over 50 educational apps, like Starfall and ABC Mouse, that are designed specifically for children under the age of five.”

Ward said the facility could easily be used for technology-related training for teachers in the future.

The Children’s Learning Lab opened Tuesday, January 19.

For information about the Children’s Learning Lab at Northeast contact Ward at 662-720-4082 or by email at lbward@nemcc.edu.

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