Students at BJA have access to a variety of technology tools and hands-on learning spaces. On October 22, the South Carolina Association of Educational Technology recognized the school’s integration of technology into the outdoor learning area at Elementary Main—known as The Courtyard—by presenting BJA with the 2015 Technology Innovation Program (TIPs) award. TIPs awards are given to schools or districts in South Carolina that showcase innovative use of technology in education.
In addition to regular use of technology in the classrooms, The Courtyard has become a place of collaborating and learning. Over the past several months, a variety of new features have been added to the area. After the introduction of several new plants, QR codes were added to give the students the opportunity to use their devices to learn about what is growing in The Courtyard. Weather gauges, a chalkboard and an in-ground Boggle board also provide a unique learning environment. An above-ground root box allows students to study plant growth and other soil phenomena. Whether interacting with the water features or capturing a close-up glimpse of butterflies on the butterfly bushes, each grade level accesses and uses The Courtyard in a way that best complements their curriculum. First-graders have maintained a garden area in conjunction with their botany units while fifth-graders examine ecology systems in The Courtyard and document them by producing short videos. A website developed by faculty member Katie Klipp allows teachers and students to learn, share and collaborate.
“By providing students with usable technology and an innovative hands-on learning space, we are opening the door to learning outside the confines of a classroom or a standard textbook,” says elementary assistant principal Jenny Klipp, coordinator of the program. “Coupled with collaborative technology, The Courtyard provides a unique opportunity for students to interact with each other at a higher level of learning; and we are thrilled and honored by SCAET’s recognition of this integration program.” Take a look at more pictures here.
Link to the website referenced above: