Close up: Grapevine-Colleyville ISD’s first interactive playground

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Grapevine-Colleyville ISD installed an interactive playground at O.C. Taylor Elementary School, and a live demonstration was held in the school’s gymnasium Sept. 9. This is the first such playground for GCISD.

For this new feature, GCISD worked with Quebec-based company Lu. Lu offers technology that creates a stimulating learning environment by incorporating active play with curriculum.

Lu’s system features a 3-D movement detection camera, an immersive light and sound system, and a video projector that works on an interactive projection screen with which students interact, said Pierre-Luc St-Onge, head of sales at Lu. Students play these games by touching or throwing a ball at the projection screen.

O.C. Taylor fifth graders participated in the live demonstration. One student said he liked it because it is a mix of video games and physical activity.

Through the games that come with the Lu Interactive Playground, students can learn subjects, such as math and spelling. They can also hone other skills related to memory, organization, fine motor coordination, planning, attention span and logic, according to St-Onge’s presentation. The company has about 350 installations across the U.S.

It is an enrichment tool that engages children’s physical, mental and socio-emotional development, St-Onge said. The Lu team consists of educators as well as software developers. Over the next year, the company will work on a content-management system to allow teachers to upload their own quiz questions, images and curriculum into the program, he said.

“What we’re trying to do is to have kids move while learning at the same time. … We know for a fact that kids who are physically active perform better in the classroom,” St-Onge said.

This new interactive playground has transformed the 32-year-old traditional gym into a new world to explore,  Principal Lisa Young Pedevilla said in an email.

“One student told me, ‘It is like I am in a dream world. I don’t even realize I am exercising or learning!'” Young Pedevilla said in the email. “As an educator, I like the emphasis on developing the whole child. The Lu is not just about physical exercise and movement; it develops social skills, calming techniques, and academics. I am thrilled we have brought an entirely new dimension to our gym!”

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to include a quote from Grapevine-Colleyville ISD.

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Renee Yan
Renee Yan graduated May 2017 from the University of Texas in Arlington with a degree in journalism, joining Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in July.
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