Beaufort County Schools test out technology driven “innovative classroom”

WASHINGTON, N.C. (WNCT) — Forget wooden desks and a black chalkboard – technology has taken over in two Beaufort County Schools.

“Classrooms are really not set up anymore where you have a set front of a classroom,” said Don Phipps, superintendent for Beaufort County Schools. “The classroom is very modular, and it can integrate to take on the shape and form of whatever the teacher is working on.”

With a pilot program called “Innovative Classrooms” the state of North Carolina asked for volunteers to test them out and for Beaufort County, they say it was an easy decision.

“We really began to think of the classroom itself being an instrument and a tool,” said Phipps. “That we could manipulate to try to create an environment that was conducive to learning and that accentuated that style of teaching that teachers use.”

The new classrooms feature a flat screen touch screen television, a variety of desk sizes and shapes, a larger white board with student accessibility and a workspace that encourages student interaction.

“I feel like that changes the way students are engaged in what their learning and it’s more fun,” said Mandi Stone, seventh grade teacher at Chocowinity Middle School.”They want to come to class, they want to be here, I’ve noticed that they don’t have any behavior issues. I know it’s the first week of school but they are super excited about being in the classroom.”

With these new innovative classrooms, the students get to choose which chairs they want to sit in and even get their own Chromebook.

“As soon as I brought the chairs in for them to look at and see and pick which one they wanted, they were super excited,” said Stone.

Not only are the students excited, but seventh grade teacher Ms. Stone and third grade teacher, Mr. Bradsher felt the same.

“Our goal was to find teachers that were already doing some innovative things already,” said Phipps. “And then have them being able to tap those things together – the teacher as a resource, and now a classroom as a resource. And hopefully get things to click and have great instruction.”

The whole initiative aims to create a better learning environment especially for kids whose tension spans are shorter than they were previously. If these two rooms help students to grow, Beaufort County will expand this project.


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