On Friday, the ribbon was cut on a brand new Innovation Lab at Haw Creek Elementary School, which will provide students with a new space for creativity and cooperation.
This new space is an augmentation of the existing media center at Haw Creek Elementary School. Over the last year, Innovation Specialist Julie Kelley and Haw Creek Elementary School Principal June Tribble have been adding a number of different areas and stations for students to express their creativity and learn new skills.
“I grew up with a library, you grew up with a media center when they added all the technology, now we have added a maker space,” Kelley said Friday at the ribbon cutting ceremony.
Kelley explained that they wanted to create a space where students could get excited about learning, and find passion in making things.
As the ceremony began, a horde of Haw Creek students rushed into the lab wearing bright orange and purple “innovator” shirts, each student rushing to an activity space, eager to work on a project.
Several areas of the room are equipped with smart boards and Chrome Books, where students can work collaboratively on text and presentation projects. Other areas of the room contain tables carrying games and activities and materials to make physical projects. Each of the areas was happily occupied by one or several students hard at work.
Kelley explained that the lab is equipped with several state-of-the-art pieces of technology, including a 3D Printer, smartboards, computers, a green screen and a laser cutter — all available for the students to use and learn with.
“The jobs they are going to have haven’t been created yet. So if they have skills in any position, that’s a value,” Kelley said.
During the ceremony, fifth graders Ryan Dooley and Nathan Tishgarten used their free time to build designs with a set of 3D pens, which melt plastic into shapes similar to how a hot glue gun functions. Both of the boys said that the pens are their favorite part of coming to the lab.
“I just really like to get out of class and enjoy doing this,” said Dooley, motioning at his plastic 3D pen design. “It’s hard work, but coming out and doing this is fun.”
“There’s some things that I’m just really not that interested in,” said Tishgarten. “I’m interested in the 3D printer, but I haven’t learned how to get that to work yet, so we’ll see about that.”
Tribble said that this attitude, of students looking forward to coming into the lab, and being willing to try new activities to find things they like to do, is one of the things they are aiming for.
“We want it to look like play, but a whole lot of other things are happening, from academics, to addressing what it’s really like to collaborate with other kids at different grade levels,” Tribble said.
Tribble said that if students are interested in it, they are willing to see if they can make it happen.
The ribbon was cut at the ceremony by Georgia First Lady Sandra Deal — herself a former teacher — who spoke at the event about the importance of fostering innovation in the youth of the state.
“We need to have people who can come up with ideas for robots and things that make life better. We want you to create things, think, figure it out and come up with new ideas. That’s how you become successful,” Deal said.“You are going to be the ones who are going to run this state someday, and maybe the United States, maybe the world,” she said.