Some students in Metro Nashville Public Schools are about to start a type of learning they can see and touch.
A set of new screens are built into classroom tables, making lessons fun for students, and their teachers say it's all about preparing them for the future.
"Just look at their faces. They can't wait to get involved. They get to touch things instead of just watching me or writing," said Emily Parsley, a second grade teacher at Napier Elementary School.
Parsley's class is the first group of Metro students to get the feel for counting money and shopping on the new ActivTable.
"They think that they are doing a game, but they are really doing something that's very related to their curriculum," said Kecia Ray, MNPS executive director of learning technology.
The ActivTable contains more than 70 interactive learning lessons, blending subjects like reading, writing, arithmetic and science.
"So all of that in a textbook could be very dry, but with that technology, really amazing," Ray said.
The company that makes the ActivTable - Promethean - teamed up with the National Alliance of Black School Educators to help schools with low-income students.
The result was a $150,000 grant to 15 Metro schools.
"Our kids come from a really tough neighborhood. And they come in with a lot of anger sometimes and a lot of hurt. And having this technology can often get them out of that mood they are in and get them excited about learning," Parsley said.
Besides the ActivTable, kindergartners will get an ActivBoard for their classroom, and a special clicker system will allow fourth graders to text their test answers to the teacher.
It's all an invaluable lesson in a modern method for these students.
"Students need to be prepared for the life beyond the classroom. And the life beyond the classroom involves a lot of technology," Ray said.
School administrators said the new products will be in 14 more schools by the end of next week.
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