Moulton-Branch Elementary School, located in Valdosta, Georgia, has one of only three SMALLabs located in the state of Georgia. WALB news covered the story when the SMALLab opened to students.
Children play a game in the SMALL Lab, a multimedia set-up located in the auditorium of the renovated Moultrie library, this morning. The library is the only one in Georgia with this technology, donated by ABM. It allows computer programs — including games and documentaries — to be broadcast on the floor and interacted with using a wand.
A school in Valdosta got some new and innovative technology to make learning fun. The technology is said to have been the result of research supported by Bill and Melinda Gates.
The Lowndes County School system just got their new Student Multimedia Accelerated Learning Lab (SMALLab) and it’s housed at Moulton Branch Elementary School.
Motion capture suits are used to make animation come alive with lifelike movements at places like Disney and Pixar — and now at Seneca Valley.
Seneca Valley High School students are some of the first in the country to use this technology in a new pilot program this school year. The course is called Honors Motion Capture and Animation 1 and is giving students skills to get jobs in various industries.
District interim Superintendent David McDonald said the renovation was the final project in a district-wide initiative to update school media centers.
“What we’re trying to provide are engaging learning spaces that are also rooted in literacy,” said McDonald. “It attracts kids. They want to go there. They want to collaborate.”
Tracy Williams SMALLab instructor at Bobtown Elementary School
Specifically, I look for three things:
First, the solution should have a proven track record of improving student outcomes across the entire curriculum—not just in math, but in language arts as well.
Second, the solution must reinforce and improve retention of topics taught in the classroom. It has to enhance the classroom experience, not replace it.
Third, the solution has to make the learning environment fun, interactive, and collaborative.
The versatility has allowed for all types of learners to engage, according to Denise Manganello, principal of Seneca Valley Academy of Choice, who has plans to expand SMALLab usage in the Pennsylvania program's classrooms. “It has so many different opportunities for students to learn content or how things are developed or to collaborate and reach a higher level of thinking and metacognition," Manganello told EdScoop. "Really, everybody should be using it.”
“It brings learning to life," she added. "The kids are up, they’re moving. They’re also collaborating, they’re working together and tying it all in.”
Martell: We’ve invested in a lot of technology. We have a new media center, a cyber platform, and two fully-functional fabrication labs. But we have five SMALLabs, and of all of our initiatives, our SMALLabs are having the biggest success. Not only have the teachers gravitated toward it, but the students have as well. We work hard so we can reach every single student with SMALLab.
Ed Camic (4th Grade Teacher at Twin Rivers Intermediate School): We used SMALLab’s Student Insight Center to test students’ understanding of fractions. They took an online assessment before and after a SMALLab session using the More Or Less lesson. With our fractions lesson, we saw that student scores improved by 15 percent after using our SMALLab. That was really exciting!
Grande Innovation Academy Executive Director Patty Messer: They love SMALLab! They’re so excited. We implemented it in the spring of 2017, after we did demonstrations for the teachers and parents, the students had the opportunity to go in and experience our SMALLab as well. Every single student was able to experience our SMALLab at least once during those last few weeks in May. Just this morning, I gave a tour to three new families, and they were super excited as well.
In an article title "Pennsylvania superintendent embraces tech tools, resource allocation", EducationDIVE explains how Superintendent Phillip Martell is transforming the Connellesville School District with technology and innovation. SMALLab plays a key role in the initiative that is driving student and educator success.
In an article titled, "The “Future of Education” Looks A Lot Like A Virtual Reality Video Game", Daniela Perallon features SMALLab for WHNT News 19 in Huntsville, Alabama.
When WHNT News 19 visited the lab on March 20th, the students were tracking constant velocity by holding the wands and walking along a track calculating their speed. This great article aired that same evening.
The New York Times published a comprehensive article titled, “Learning by Play: Video Games in the Classroom” in the September 19, 2010 issued of the Sunday Magazine. The article highlights relevant work in the field with a profile of the fantastic work happening at the Quest To Learn school in New York City. SMALLab is a key technology in the school.
Education Week published a great article profiling the science behind SMALLab. The article is titled "High-Tech Simulations Linked to Learning". The article features a number of quotes from SMALLab teachers and students. A student, Dominic Heurta, describes his SMALLab experience saying, “You get to interact and enjoy yourself, but most of all, you learn more,” he said. “You don’t get bored, and you actually think about the things you are doing.”