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GMCS buys new interactive technology

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Part of $1.5 million investment by district

Learning is more than just reading a book these days. Gallup-McKinley County Schools is constantly coming up with new ways to engage their students in learning. This year, they’re implementing more interactive technology with a partnership with KIDSjumpTECH, a technology group based out of Miami, Florida.

KIDSjumpTECH offers a variety of technology, including mobile interactive floors, interactive AI sandboxes, interactive walls, and multitouch kiosks. The technology comes preprogrammed with lots of educational tools that can help students learn about math, science, and reading, and many other topics.

Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum/Instruction Wade Bell also pointed out that the products can help students with both their fine and gross motor skills.

“A lot of students learn by physical movement,” Bell said.

KIDSjumpTECH has already installed some of the tech into GMCS’s elementary discovery centers, their elementary low-incident disability classrooms,  - which serve students with significant intellectual disability and those with multiple disabilities – their preschools classrooms, and their Pre-K classrooms.

Bell said the company’s customer service has been great, also noting that the devices have a five-year bumper-to-bumper warranty.

“We put a lot of money into this, so they’re putting a lot of investment into Gallup-McKinley to make sure we’re happy with the product,” Bell said.

Bell said GMCS is KIDSjumpTECH’s biggest partnership in the education field yet. The district spent about $13,000 on each AI sandbox, $11,000 on each interactive wall mount, $7,500 on each multitouch table, and about $14,500 on the mobile floors, equaling out to a price tag of over $1.5 million.

The AI sandboxes and mobile interactive floors were place in every elementary discovery center, elementary low-incident disability classroom, preschool classroom, and Pre-K classrooms. The interactive walls and multitouch kiosks are only in the elementary discovery centers for now.

During his presentation, Bell explained how the interactive floor design amazed a disabled student and distracted him from a bad mood.  The student happened to be in the classroom when they were installing the technology, so he got to try it out and played a game featuring piranhas.

“He came in, saw the device, and was completely taken aback and the mood was gone within seconds,” Bell said. “… It can change a kid’s perspective on what’s happening in the environment, get them excited immediately.”

GMCS board members got the chance to play with the multitouch tables and the interactive floor at a board meeting on Aug. 14. Most of the games and learning opportunities are geared toward younger children, preschool and elementary students specifically. But GMCS Superintendent Mike Hyatt said the technology for middle and high school will be coming soon.

“We’re continually looking for opportunities in our classrooms for interactiveness. We started with these,” Hyatt said. “Some of the technology for students in middle school and high school is not as plentiful, but there are some things we’re investigating and looking forward to in the future that the technology is just becoming available….”

Hyatt said that older students could possibly use the technology in science work such as frog dissections or in welding to practice the skill before they are given actual power tools. It could also come in handy during anatomy lessons.

Hyatt also mentioned that specific topics that are related to GMCS and N.M. could be programmed into the learning tools as well.

To see videos of GMCS students playing with the mobile floor mats and the AI sandbox, go to the Sun’s Facebook page, @GallupSunPublishing.

By Molly Ann Howell
Managing Editor