Educating with augmented reality at South Marshall Elementary

New STEM program prepares the next generation

Marshall, Tx. - There's a growing demand for careers in STEM- science technology, engineering and math and a local school district has a new program to teach these skills to the youngest age group.

South Marshall Elementary is using a type of learning program which involves gaming and augmented reality. Its educators said they are seeing students learn faster than ever before. 

Inside the elementary, the kindergarten curriculum based in books and worksheets is becoming a part of the past.

"It's not the school you and I may have went to school years ago. It's really changed. It's tech-integration and it's exciting," said Cindy Wallace, STEM coordinator South Marshall Elementary.

Students are using a first-of-its kind program called Osmo which incorporates augmented reality in problem solving. Standard ways of learning of vocabulary and math transform into interactive games.

"You're trying to match the word. I'm thinking it's owl," said one girl.

"You try and match them up to the screen and if you get it you level up," said a fellow student. 

From teaching Newton's three laws  to special coding, students must figure out multiple solutions. Educators with years of experience said the students' young brains are absorbing the concepts much easier.

"Students are able to think in ways that I've never seen students think. It allows them to solve problems in ways we don't even think about as adults," said Kristen Atwood, teacher.

The tech-involved curriculum prepares them early for a future where a foundation in STEM gives them the advantage. 

"We want to start with our youngest babies so there's no misconception there's one type of person who is good at this," Wallace said.

You can also find it's where stereotypes are being broken-down as young women look to join the STEM workforce.

"What do you want to be when you grow up?" 

"A scientist," replied a young girl.

The Marshall School District is in the process of implementing this program district-wide. 

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