(GREAT FALLS) When Giant Springs Elementary School was built, gone was the idea of a traditional classroom setting.
Technology lies as the foundation and gives students the opportunity to have the day’s lesson at the tips of their fingers.
Some parents may cringe at the idea of this, claiming too much screen time. But GFPS Director of Technology Information Tom Hering says it can be a good thing.
“I think there’s been a dramatic change in how we look at how we teach, the curriculum we use, and the technology we integrate into that. It really has had a dramatic impact on how we think we are going towards an individual-based learning plan,” Hering said.
The students use a program called Success Maker. It’s an interactive video game-like program that teaches them different elements and walks them through exercises.
“As you get better at it, you achieve a higher level of understanding,” Hering said.
This program is not only a fun and competitive way of learning, but it forces students to become interactive with one another in the open classroom setting.
“We feel like technology has the potential to have a major impact on student achievement. Partly because it allows them to participate in the process and be an active participant versus maybe someone that would be a student sitting in a traditional classroom where the teacher was lecturing all day and they were taking notes,” Hering said.
School officials are hoping to use this model for other schools in the district.
“We do see this as a model that we can test out and see how this technology works in this building and see if that is a good model moving forward. As we look at Longfellow coming down the road here, where we sit right now is we are going to emulate this building,” Hering said.
Some parents have voiced their concerns about not being so tech-savvy. They fear they cannot help their children with homework or practice lessons with them because they do not know how to work these smart devices.
Hering said school officials are considering having parent nights to teach parents how to use the technology.