It’s an interesting mix of games and lessons—board games with cards and dice being used by the same students who only minutes earlier were using an iPad to play a game about math.
But when it comes to problem solving, the Learning Lab at the doesn’t limit itself.
“Sometimes the kids just prefer a board game, they already have so much technology in their lives,” said third-grade teacher Jessica Lindsay.
Lindsay was one of several school staff members on hand for a Learning Lab Open House in February, during which parents got to see some of the newest “toys” their children are using in the classroom, and how they are worked into the curriculum. Thanks to funding from the Frost PTA and the East Brunswick Education Foundation, the lab has a variety of technology and educational games, including iPods, iPads, computers, and yes, even board games, to support teaching and learning for subjects such as reading, writing, science and math.
Using iPod and iPad apps such as Math Genius and Rocket Match, instructors help students bridge the gap between fun, games and home and learning using a technology many are already familiar with. In addition, Frost School has decided to incorporate the technology in one room, as opposed to having the items distributed throughout the school, which allows teachers to differentiate instruction for different students in a class.
“The purpose is to have everything in one space, as opposed to a few in the classroom,” said Principal Beth Warren. “It works well when the whole class is doing it.”
The learning lab also allows students to conduct research, publish original works, create a Web Quest, use eBooks and microscopes, or to prepare PowerPoint presentations, almost anything one could think of.
“They love it,” said Lindsay. “They’re definitely very engaged. Some kids who have trouble with the regular classroom often do great with this.”
But even though students may have these gadgets and games at home, it takes a special kind of teacher to learn how to use them in the classroom. That’s why Warren is quick to credit her staff for taking the program to the next level.
“I’m lucky to have a staff that embraces innovation and runs with it,” she said.