Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Smithfield Middle School Grant

Smithfield Middle School principal Kyle Pekurney and Academic Coach Mary Hadley show off their grant check of $1000.00 for the weInnovate Zone (WIZ). The renovated space will be student-centered designed to inspire and motivate our students to collaborate with others. Technology will be highly integrated into all areas of the learning space including charging stations, Wi-Fi, shared monitors (either projection or LCD), and the availability of printing. Students can rearrange furniture to accommodate the needs of whatever assignment they might be working on. The WIZ will be an inviting place where students can meet, talk, study, and create using their own devices or borrowed devices from our library. If a quiet place to work alone or with a partner is what a student needs, there will be areas to accommodate as well. The plan is to have at least one area where glass “walls” can be pulled out to produce a quite zone. This fishbowl effect is expected to be enticing to students due to the modern look and feel of the space as well as its functionality. We believe that the flexibility and limitless possibilities of this initiative will encourage self-directed learning for our students.

This award will impact, encourage, and promote future community involvement through our mentor program. We anticipate that the WIZ initiative will increase the number of students who become self-directed learners. Instead of sitting passively listening to a lecture to get information, we envision our students collaborating and co-learning with an emphasis on co-construction of knowledge.

This initiative would improve and modify the physical environment in our 8th grade hallway. Locker Bank D would be completely removed by the district. The award would allow for a remodel of the area to create a learning lab. Please refer to attached pictures to see the existing condition of the area. With the advances in furniture design, technology and what we now know about how today’s students learn, we are not going back to teacher-directed, one-size-fits-all classrooms. Flexible learning spaces are much more exciting and fun places to be. Learning is much quicker and effective here. Knowing that this type of learning environment is inevitable and that our current spaces create many barriers, we want to jump aboard and allow our digital natives to spread their wings!

This week they met with key administrative, technology, personnel to discuss their plans for a flexible learning space. The grant is one small part in what it will take to make this project a success but the hope is to raise enough funds and gather enough materials to bring this project to fruition by school year 2016.

Posted by Rashel Larson, Digital Learning Specialist

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