Haring Center

February 26, 2019

Bringing ibestt to Preschool

Haring Center Mobile Application to Expand to Early Education

Haring Center researchers are expanding ibestt (Integrating Behavior Support and Team Technology), a product developed and tested through a Center research grant, to be used in preschool and other early childhood programs.

After successfully rolling out an initial version for elementary schools that is being used in school districts across both Washington and Oregon, the ibestt research team won another grant from the Department of Education to further develop the program for early learning programs.

“This is exciting news for us,” said principal investigator Scott Spaulding, Ph.D. “When we first started working on ibestt, we said ‘wouldn’t it be great to bring this to preschools too?’”

ibestt is a web-based application for mobile devices that helps teaching teams address problem behaviors exhibited by students. It provides online coaching and collaboration for teachers to implement team-based supports for student behaviors. The early learning ibestt project’s principal investigators are Spaulding and Kathleen Meeker, Ph.D.
Spaulding noted that the preschool version of ibestt will be different than the elementary school version. While the early learning version will provide all the features of the elementary school version, the research team plans to explore how those features will work for teams who teach children of different ages.

“It is important for us to get the input of all the people who will be using it every day to prepare and facilitate their behavior plans,” Spaulding said.

During the first year of the four-year grant, researchers have invited teachers and behavior specialists to discuss how successful behavioral teams have worked for preschool-aged children, as well as what they would like to see in the application. The researchers also plan to meet with families this spring to get their point of view as well.
Spaulding said that the ibestt team will be using this opportunity to upgrade some features of the original version as well.

“Creating a tool where families can more easily and effectively contribute to a child’s plan is something that would greatly benefit the current ibestt program,” he said. “We plan on adding this and possibly a few other functions to the already existing ibestt program that will make that experience better for families and childcare teams.”
Another upgrade will be to add an integrated coaching component, which will better provide educators with the first steps needed to best implement ibestt into their intervention teams.

During the second year of the grant, our researchers will create a prototype to be used in local schools. The first ibestt prototype was used in Highline School District four years ago, where researchers worked with teams to get feedback and calibrate their application. Training materials for the ibestt technology will be developed in the third year of the grant and then it will be tested with a larger group of schools in the fourth year.

For more information about ibestt, visit the project website (ibestt.org), or contact Scott Spaulding or Kathleen Meeker.