Technology is changing the way we look at the world and that means education must keep up with the new perceptions of young learners entering the school door each year. Pre-K teacher Jennifer Bennett at Alto Park Elementary is exploring learning innovations with technology to keep the classroom on pace with the changing learning requirements of a new generation. Five-year-old children in Bennett’s class are enhancing their learning using Android tablets that are part of a pilot project with ClassVINCI, a technology learning company focused on helping children become self-motivated to succeed. “Imagine if kids poured their passion into the play that taught them math, science, reading, grammar – while they barely noticed because it was so enjoyable,” commented Dr. Dan D. Yang, creator of VINCI, in an EdTech Digest article from July, 2013. This concept drew Bennett to the project that has provided electronic tablets for all of her Pre-K students to experience a new and enjoyable way of learning.
Alto Park is the first school in Georgia to use the VINCI tablet program. The pilot provides the learning tablets to participating schools and the teachers provide reports of academic progress of students for the pilot program to assess the success of the integration of the technology into the class with our youngest learners. During this school year, Bennett has utilized the learning program for thirty minutes each day. She calls the special learning segment “VINCI time.” The VINCI program calls it “blended learning” as the students use the tablets to access software that is tailored to supplement the curriculum of the local school system. “The students absolutely love Vinci time, and they look forward to it every day,” Bennett said. “This program has been great for the students because they have a fun time while learning.”
The project fits nicely with the technology goals of Floyd County Schools. The system is in the third year of BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology) which allows high school students to use their own personal learning devices in the classroom. “Our goal is to make BYOT available in middle schools next as we expand learning opportunities for children,” stated Craig Ellison, technology director for Floyd County Schools. “A new grant announced last week will allow us to expand our access to the Internet for classroom instruction and make this type of technology integration in personal learning available to students, even in the earliest grades in all of our schools, a reality in the very near future.” That future is getting brighter and even closer to reality thanks to Bennett and her class as they are bringing the future of learning into their classroom today.