A Makerspace to Teach a Mindset
Recently, I had the opportunity to travel to W.H. Ford Elementary School in Regina, Saskatchewan to explore the endless learning opportunities via the HP Learning Studios. The HP Learning Studios is an intuitive, multifaceted makerspace which supports 21st century education through project-based learning, driven through STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) applications.
How does it Work?
The HP Learning Studios consists of the most innovative and transformational tools within education. At the forefront of this is the HP Sprout computer. This immersive device allows for collaboration in real time through its 20-point interactive touch mat along with multiple high-resolution displays. The HP Sprout also comes equipped with a HP 3D Capture Stage which allows students the opportunity to take everyday objects and create new solutions and opportunities through 3D modelling and editing software. To fully grasp the power of the HP Sprout you have to use it first-hand!
Students gravitate to this workplace because it offers something unique and unparalleled. Its dynamic ensures students work on meaningful content consistent with 21st century global competencies. If this wasn't enough the HP Learning Studios comes fully equipped with a Dremel 3D Printer offering a solution to bring unique projects to life. Finally, each studio contains 10 mobile devices tailored to the needs of today's students.
I was thrilled to have the opportunity to work alongside Trevor Hlushko, a dynamic and innovative educator at W.H. Ford Elementary. Fair Chance Learning had the opportunity to come into his grade 5/6 classroom and showcase everything the HP Learning Studios could offer his students. Together, we worked through the various features and functionalities of the workstation, but the true power was when we incorporated the students. There are no words to describe the smiles perseverating from the students' faces. It was a rare transformational experience in which students were rushing to come into the classroom - not the other way around. HP Learning Studios is valuable not because of the technology itself but what learning possibilities the technology can offer the students. This experience made students feel empowered to try new things and take chances with their learning.
One of the greatest benefits I've witnessed from this experiences is the positive effect it has on the student's social emotional intelligence. Our experience was not about each student working away in isolation on a device but rather as a community of learning, sharing, and collaboration. Students designed, and communicated while working in real time together. These skills cannot be understated as they are at the forefront of education today, especially in terms of global competencies which are present everywhere in the world.
During my visit, Trevor had his students create exoskeletons on various species throughout the world. To achieve this end, students used their laptops and the most innovative 3D modelling and scanning technology available thanks to the HP Learning Studio. To make these applications a reality, students were then able to 3D print their projects piece by piece to construct a live working model.
While these projects were beyond impressive, the true power resided in mindset of the students. They were able to use multiple skill sets previously not possible, while creating something unique and meaningful to themselves. The subject disciplines were heavily integrated and collaboration was pivotal to the success of each group. The excitement in their voices was inspiring and I was blown away by some of the ideas they had for future projects. We nurtured these ideas by bringing the students together to show them all of the various ways HP Learning Studios could be used. Afterwards, we had those students, show other students the same ways. This student-driven approach was so impactful I would recommend others try a similar approach whenever possible. The free-flowing exchange of ideas transcended what I thought was possible in the allocated time.
I am beyond intrigued and excited for what Trevor and his students will create next.
About the Author:
Derek Tangredi is the Director of Integrated STEAM Education. Derek is dedicated to engaging and empowering students while uncovering their passions through robotics, inventing and creating. Currently, on a leave of absence from the Thames Valley District School Board in London Ontario, Derek is travelling across Canada and internationally on behalf of Fair Chance Learning to spread knowledge on STEAM education and extending learning beyond the classroom.