One of the major projects over the summer was the remodel of one of the computer labs at Augusta School, transforming the existing learning space into a 21st century learning lab.
The project was possible through a $15,000 grant the district received through the RC Durr Foundation. While having a computer lab is of great benefit and necessity, there is much more to 21st century learning than simply using a computer, and that was the extent of the usefulness of the previous space. All of the enhancements to the room revolved around 21st century skills: critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity.
As students enter the room, one of the first things they will likely notice is the freshly painted walls and the arrangement of the 14 new computer tables, replacing the counters that previously lined the walls. The computer tables are arranged into groups of six or eight to help easily facilitate collaboration amount students. For those students who do not need a computer, non-traditional seating options are available. A set of four colorful aurora stools with a center table can be used for group work. Also, to create an informal place to do partner work, a café-style table with two café chairs were installed.
The new space features a 65” interactive flat panel to allow the teacher to present content during instruction, or to be used by students to present information and material to their peers. There is also the addition of video and green screen technology. Green screen and lighting equipment, a 4K camcorder, and an iPad to be used with teleprompter equipment are all available for video production, in addition to video editing software available on lab computers.
We are now a global community, and students must be able to explore globally. This prepares them for life, careers, and experiences outside of our rural community. A virtual reality system with 10 VR goggles is now available in the lab and will allow teachers to take students on over 700 virtual reality field trips with Google Expeditions. Google Expeditions enable teachers to bring students on virtual trips to places like museums, underwater, and outer space.
“When deciding the type of project to apply for with this grant, we wanted something that would give our students new and exciting opportunities,” Technology Director Tim Litteral said. “The space itself is designed to be an inviting atmosphere that encourages creativity and positivity. The lab is used on a first come-first serve basis as reserved by teachers, so every student can potentially utilize the experiences available in this space.”