Lufkin primary school using ‘Smart Cycles’ to better engage students in learning

Updated: Oct. 28, 2020 at 1:44 PM CDT
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LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - Students in the Lufkin school district are pedaling, playing, and learning all at the same time. At Herty Primary the students are using Think and Learn Smart Cycles and doing what is called kinesthetic learning.

“They’re maintaining attention, they’re using hand/eye coordination, they’re using their feet, all while learning, so kinesthetic is just body movement at the same time as learning,” said Special Education teacher, Kayla Tierney.

This is Henry, a kindergartner at Herty Primary. He is pedaling on a Think and Learn Smart Cycle as part of a lesson in letter recognition, and beginner academic skills. His mother, Amanda Smith, is the digital learning specialist for the district.

“So my son is nonverbal and this has really helped him with recognizing the letters and how he hears the sounds as they come from the bicycle and the iPad,” Smith said.

Part of her role is to find engaging and innovative ways to incorporate technology into the classroom. Smith, with the help of Brad Stewart, Chief technology Officer, and the technology department, they were able to get two bikes and two iPads purchased for the school.

“I think it’s important to try new things, and they are so many things out there and it gives us an opportunity to kind of experiment at each school with different programs,” Stewart said. “And if it works, then we can move it to the other schools.”

Special Education Teacher, Kayla Tierney, says all students benefit from the activity.

“They also enjoy sitting and watching the other kids while they are playing,” Tierney said. “So even if they’re not actually pedaling and biking at the moment, they’re still learning because they’re watching.”

Herty got the cycles at the end of September, and there are other schools in the district that purchased a few before the pandemic hit.

“We’ve seen a lot of excitement with the kids. We’ve also learned not to expect them to know how to pedal,” Smith said. “We all kind of came in taking for granted they knew how a bike worked, and they have not. So we’ve had to start with some fine motor, some gross motor of this is how you grasp it, this is how you pedal.”

The iPads have the ability to come off of the bike and be used for other lessons in the classroom.

Stewart said they are hoping to incorporate more technology into other schools as the year goes on.

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