In almost every school in the country, there lives this mysterious room where the computers live, most of the computers are stationary and in definition cannot leave that mysterious room. This is saying that this is where technology lives and you can’t use technology outside of this room. This is totally not the world that we are currently living in. Computing is here and now and must be mobile. So once again the schools are playing catch up to the outside world.
Our old traditional computer lab
In our schools, we have just started the process of going One2One with iPads at the elementary schools and Chromebooks at the middle, junior high and high schools. We started this journey with our middle schools (5th and 6th grade). So after we accepted that every student would have a device with them 24/7, we started looking at current spaces that were taken up by old technology. The computer lab was the first place to look.
Why do we need this mysterious room that contains old stationary computers when every student has a new chromebook 24/7?
So then the question is what do we do with this room? Do we make it another classroom? Do we use it for storage? Do we leave it alone and see it still gets used? Or do we create a space that kids would be excited to visit, use and collaborate?
We voted for the last opinion. We decided we wanted an area that would enhance the technology that the students have 24/7 access. We wanted a learning space where students could be creative, innovative and work collaboratively. We wanted a space where students could be comfortable, with non-traditional classroom furniture.
So the results, our new Innovation Lab! This learning space is completely flexible, everything is either on wheels or light enough that students can move it. We created a technology lab that students can connect their Chromebooks to 42 inch TVs and work collaboratively on assignments, labs, presentations, video and anything they can do.
We designed a room that can be changed to fit the type of teaching and learning that needs to happen to reach that learning goal.
We also painted one of the walls to serve as a green screen, so our students can be even more creative.
So in the first two weeks of school starting the labs have overall been a big hit. Students and teachers are very excited to see this new space being a place that everyone, young and old, really looks forward to using. We also have a great new space for staff meetings and professional development.
Once we continue to look at how we can use this room to help improve teaching and learning I am positive that our teachers and students will find even more creative and innovative ways to use the room.