Kids Put New Innovative Classroom to the Test

By Jill Kasparie, Reporter


By Jill Kasparie

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - College Community district kids got a whole new educational experience on Thursday.

They spent time in a model classroom designed with educational technology trends and new furnishings in mind.

A third grade class took over as the first group of young students to test out the SCALE-UP classroom at the Grant Wood Area Educational Agency or AEA.

9-year-old Samantha Forslund is getting used to this new type of classroom.

"There is no like problems and also we don't have like a TV projector,” Forslund said.

The room came complete with swivel chairs, plush furniture and unique desks.

"The chairs are like comfortable, and the tables aren't like desks, so we can all hear each other,” Forslund said.

The class also used white board tables, an entire white board wall and lap tops.The AEA developed the classroom to explore different ways students learn and to help teachers diversify their teaching methods.

"More and more, education is moving towards putting the students in charge of their own learning and in order to do that you need to have spaces for the kids together in groups to be able to collaborate,” said Grant Wood AEA Technology Consultant Michelle Cowell.

The education team said part of the project included thinking about how kids learn outside of the school day.

"They are going to the internet, they are using their electronic devices, so now, how can we help put them in a learning environment where we can facilitate that,” said Grant Wood AEA Coordinator of Digital Learning Stacy Behmer.

For the kids, their teacher said this classroom is just plain fun.

"As soon as today arrived and they started walking in the door, you could not contain the excitement,” said Prairie Ridge Elementary School 3rd Grade Teacher Brad Koch.

As their excitement filled the room, AEA educators were also excited to see the room put to good use. They believe more schools will start using some of the SCALE-UP features as education continues to change.

The classroom project was funded with money from Grant Wood AEA's general budget. Project leaders said they want to keep working to find new ways to keep students prepared for the future.

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