Friday, April 11, 2014

Case Study No. 1360: Holly Hammonds

CBS 11 News this Morning
CBS News This Morning goes live from McKinney, Texas to explore how 3D technology is transforming traditional teaching. Melissa Newton talks with librarian Holly Hammond about a new way of teaching kids their ABCs. A new 3D technology called Letters alive is being used in Lawson Early childhood Center with Head Start preschoolers. A special camera projects the image of a flash card on to the screen. That makes the image seem to pop out.
Tags: Letters alive Logical Choice Lawson Early Childhood Center 3D technology augmented reality Dallas Fortworth McKinney Texas preschool EdTech education Reading curriculum CBS 11 News This Morning Holly Hammond Melissa Newton phonemic awareness literacy early childhood literacy
Added: 2 years ago
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ANNOUNCER: Covering Fort Worth, Dallas, and all of North Texas, this is CBS 11 News This Morning, in HD.
[scene opens with two news anchors speaking directly to the camera]
FEMALE ANCHOR: Five thirty-nine is your time right now. From the movie theater to the classroom, how 3D technology is transforming traditional teaching.
MALE ANCHOR: A new high-tech way of teaching is helping a group of local kids learn how to read.
FEMALE ANCHOR: Mm hmm. Lawson Early Childhood Center in McKinney is using interactive 3D technology to transform traditional teaching. CBS 11's Melissa Newton is on the road with our Mobile 11 live unit, she joins us now with how this program works. Good morning!
[cut to the female news reporter speaking directly to the camera]
MELISSA NEWTON: [pause] Hey, good morning, guys! This is really neat technology, they call it augmented reality and what it does ...
[she holds up a flash card with the letter "G" on it]
MELISSA NEWTON: It takes traditional flash cards, like we all remember in school, and turns them interactive. Joining me now is Holly Hammonds, she's the librarian here at Lawson Early Education.
[the camera pans over to show a young female librarian (long blonde hair, black pantsuit) standing next to the reporter]
MELISSA NEWTON: And Holly, just kind of show us how this works.
[she holds up another flash card with the letter "S" on it, as "Holly Hammonds, Reading Specialist" appears on screen]
HOLLY HAMMONDS: Well, this is pretty neat, I can actually show the kids, ask them, where before they just had ... Well, I could say "What letter is this?" And the kids would just tell me the letter and the sound. Well, now we can actually make them come to life with this technology.
[she places the card over a nearby table]
HOLLY HAMMONDS: So I'm gonna take this card, and put it under this special camera here, and we're learning the letter "S" ...
[the camera pans up to show a projection screen with the librarian's hand holding the flash card visible]
MELISSA NEWTON: [pause] Wait for it ...
HOLLY HAMMONDS: The camera comes up ...
[a 3D animated image of a seal suddenly pops up and begins "swimming" above the card on the projection screen]
HOLLY HAMMONDS: And we have a three-dimensional seal!
HOLLY HAMMONDS: And about this time, kids are screaming, and I know all of the adults in the back are itching to touch this, too! But so, we can go ahead and the seal will say its name ...
[she places the card down on the table, then presses blue "button" on the lower right-hand corner of the card, as the seal barks and a voice says "Sergio Seal!"]
HOLLY HAMMONDS: And then we can turn it into learning about the capital- and the lower-case letters ...
[she presses the orange "button", as the letters "S" and "s" appear on screen, then the voice says "The letter 's'!"]
HOLLY HAMMONDS: And it's gonna give the kids the sound of the letter, too, which is pretty neat all in one.
MELISSA NEWTON: What're the kids' reactions to all of this?
HOLLY HAMMONDS: Usually the kids scream! The first time they see it come out, they just, they scream they're so excited! And it's just a perfect way to engage the kids in the letters.
MELISSA NEWTON: Very cool! Well Holly, I love this technology! I've been playing with it all morning, in fact, and coming up in the next hour we're going to show you how they can use this technology to help the children form sentences. For now, we are live in McKinney. Melissa Newton, CBS 11 News.



McKINNEY (CBSDFW.COM) – A new high-tech way of teaching is helping pre-K kids in McKinney learn how to read.

Lawson Early Childhood Center is using interactive, 3-D technology to transform traditional teaching.

"I think this is a great way for kids to learn," said librarian Holly Hammonds. "With this the kids are so engaged."

Ever since Lawson started using the augmented reality curriculum to teach reading, students are learning their alphabet faster and getting excited about doing it.

"They think it's just like one of their games, they think it's a game rather than a learning curriculum," said Assistant Principal Jean Stayton. "If they're excited about it, they're going to be more engaged and they're going to learn it and keep it."

The curriculum uses special flash cards that generate 3-D images onto a projector screen.

Each card has a letter and an animal that start with that letter.

The animal becomes a 3-D image that moves and makes noise.

"The pictures, they were flat but the characters kinda came to life on the cards," explained 8-year-old Claudia Duckworth.

"I liked when the animals were popping up," said five-year-old Grace Garner.

Because they're having fun, Hammonds says the kids are remembering the lessons, and that gives them a better chance at success in the future.



School uses 3-D animals to teach alphabet
By Chris Beattie, cbeattie[at]
Published: Wednesday, February 8, 2012 9:26 AM CST
Lions and tigers and...letters, oh my!

That's what students at Lawson Early Childhood Center are screaming these days. Letters Alive, a 3-D educational technology program, makes learning the alphabet fun -- growling bears, flipping seals and all.

"It's just not the typical way that students learn," said Holly Hammonds, Lawson library media specialist. "It used to be just the flash cards; now, it's an engaging technology that they're all excited about."

The new tool, implemented at the school last spring, matches each letter with a 3-D animal. When teachers prompt the "G" card on the screen, a moving -- even eating -- giraffe pops up.

Similar animal characters come alive for each letter, creating a unique association with its look and sound. Through augmented reality, a camera connected to the screen takes a picture of the letter card and projects its corresponding 3-D image.

Lawson purchased the curriculum from Logical Choice Technologies, a worldwide educational technology company with a mission to build "a better future by engaging the students of today." Educators around the world have been using the company's Promethean ActivClassroom technology for nearly a decade.

Lawson staff discovered Letters Alive last February at a Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) convention in Austin, and soon after brought it to the school. There are four sets, including the cameras, cards and lesson plans, set up at Lawson. All students, many as young as 3 years old, experience the new program on a weekly basis.

"It's an innovative way to teach students about letters," said Asst. Principal Patricia Gerig. "Every student loves it. It teaches from letters to words to sentences, so once they've mastered one, they can go to the next."

Teachers ask students questions that accompany each animal, such as what they eat or what color they are, and form four-word sentences as answers. If they prompt, "The seal eats fish," some fish will pop up next to the already moving seal image.

Of course, trial and error goes with the territory, particularly for the youngest kids. During a demonstration Tuesday, one student confessed that he had seen a red alligator at the zoo.

But they're learning, and doing so with record-long attention spans.

"It's demanding to keep these kids interested," Hammonds said. "If they're 5 years old, you're probably going to get about five minutes of attention. When we use this program, kids only start wiggling at about 20 minutes, and they're into it the whole time. It's amazing."

Lawson and Caldwell Elementary School are so far the only McKinney ISD schools using Letters Alive, but the animals are popping up all over the world, said Jeff Roberts, Logical Choice's territory manager for the North Texas region. Educators from the United Kingdom, Germany, India and Vietnam have all showed interest in the technology, he said.

"Everything we do is centered on how we can make students' lives more engaging," Roberts said. "It still uses flash cards, which have been used for reading for a long time, it just incorporates technology and brings all the digital-age kids into it."

Hammonds agreed that aside from the in-your-face animals it projects, the program's engaging style stems simply from using technology.

"No matter what socioeconomic background these students have, they probably still have technology in their home -- phones or video games," she said, "so that's the frame of reference that a lot of them come from."

Students and teachers brace themselves for the letter "B" in anticipation of the bear that towers outward as soon as the card hits the camera. Some see vultures and toucans for the first time, while learning the appearance and pronunciation for "V" and "T" words.

Logical Choice is now developing interactive storybooks based on each of the 26 animals. The books, which can be accessed on iPhones, iPads and Android devices, allow students to continue the 3-D curriculum in grade school, adding more sentences and paragraphs to the letter associations.

It's not often that young kids are shouting with joy for their daily lesson, but never before has reading been so alive.

3-D isn't just for the movies.

"We know if we can engage them, and if they do the thinking -- go up to the card, do it themselves and make that association -- it's deposited in their brain," Hammonds said. "It's something they'll always remember."



3-D technology energizes preschool learning

McKINNEY — Kids are having phonetic fun at the McKinney ISD's Herman Lawson Early Childhood Center.

Traditional flash cards literally come to life with new 3-D technology called Letters Alive. Teachers say the cards and noises are so real, kids no longer have to make believe.

"I've had different reactions," said Holly Hammonds, the school's librarian. "I've had one cry before."

Students are between three and five years old, and are part of Early Head Start, Head Start, and the Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities.

The video game and movie-like look of Letters Alive is keeping kids focused. They don't even realize they'll walk away better prepared for kindergarten.

"Rule of thumb is that for five minutes, they'll be engaged. For them to do that for 25 minutes, that's the biggest challenge of a teacher," Hammonds said.

And while this process starts with individual letters, Hammonds progresses to creating words and then sentences, hoping students will achieve beyond state expectations.

"T-O-Y," spelled one student.

That kind of progress is motivating Hammonds, who knows that each time she flashes a card, it's not easy to forget.

"They are going to remember that — 'bear' and 'bare' starts with 'B.' That will be ingrained in their brains," she said.

The Letters Alive program is being studied by other local districts. It's so new, there aren't solid numbers out yet to prove its success rate.

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