Modern. Beneficial. Fun. Engaging. Immersed learning. Student led. Teamwork. Leaders. Creators. Inviting. What do all these words have in common? They are all terms I’ve heard used to describe the atmosphere and activities in our recently revamped Library Learning Commons.
Along with the addition of sleek and colorful university-style furniture and an Interactive Smart Screen Projector, last summer’s renovation included a variety of cutting-edge equipment to empower our new, rad Makerspace.
New Picturesque Library Layout Paves the Way for Dynamic Patron Usage
During the 2016-17 school year, nearly 14,000 individual patrons and over 450 classes visited our Learning Commons, a year-end increase of 65 percent for individual usage and 15 percent for class usage.
Whether it’s the enrichment of lessons using makerspace tools like our MakerBot 3D Printers and Merge Virtual Reality Goggles; or the use of our new appealing, multi-purpose spaces for reading, research and student-driven endeavors like the NEHS Writing Center and Student Expert Workshops (such as Puppy Care and Hair Braiding), our renovated and ever-evolving library serves as central place of innovation, enjoyment and deeper learning for students and teachers.
“I used the space this year for a comfortable place for students to spread out and do research,” commented an English and Gifted Resource teacher. “The students like the new layout because it doesn’t look like a typical library anymore. They are happy with the comfortable furniture, open spaces and freedom to move around. They also like the new technology because it allows them to take their learning to the next level.”
3D Printers Enhance Learning and Add Career Readiness by Cultivating Teamwork and Creativity
Thanks to a recent renovation and a Verizon Grant applied for and received by our district’s Science and STEM Coordinator, our Makerspace now houses six MakerBot 3D Printers. Along with being open to students daily, many teachers raised levels of enjoyment, leadership and learning by incorporating 3D printing into lessons.
“They had a great time,” a government teacher noted after a project that challenged her students to print objects related to historic bills they had studied or amended.
“The project was new and fun,” a junior student added as she held her Pentagon model. “My group felt that the military and our soldiers were a very important part of our nation. We not only gained an appreciation and understanding of what happens in the Pentagon, but using the 3D printers also added a visual, tangible aspect to the experience.”
Working with the librarians and our MakerBot student experts, a veteran science teacher chose to “take a leap” from his normal Earth Science activities and implement an Asteroid Creation Project using a special CAD program.
One junior had many positive things to say about his experience. “I hope to study botany and incorporate technology like 3D printers into my career,” he commented, “so along with shaping and printing my own asteroid, I really enjoyed doing pre-research on how things like water, fire and bacteria found on real asteroids impact their landscapes.”
A sophomore classmate, who justified her creation of icy terrain by stating her asteroid was “on the edge of our Solar System near Pluto,” agreed that this was one of the most enjoyable projects she’d ever done.