Imagine. Innovate. Inspire.
We encourage traits such as creativity and grit. We incorporate themes of STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) and inquiry-based learning. We develop thinkers and leaders. All of these actions support one of the most important responsibilities we have as educators: preparing children for the future.
Last year we began planning for a space in the elementary school that would support this work. We wanted to create an environment that extended student-driven, hands-on learning for our students. Rather than embark on new construction, we decided that converting existing space was the way to go. Specifically, we identified a computer lab that could be transformed into a functional, hands-on learning environment where students would have voice and choice as they created interest-driven work. Taking inspiration from the makerspace movement and wanting to ensure that the space was flexible to adapt to new ways of learning and thinking, we came up with the idea for the i3 lab as a place where students come together to create and collaborate and to share resources and knowledge in a DIY environment.
In the i3 lab we want students to have the tools to create, hack, and remake their world for the better. They need the opportunity to explore their own interests, learn to use tools and materials, and develop creative projects. Much in the way an interactive museum offers an integrated learning experience, we see the i3 lab as uniting disciplines, being flexible and agile, and offering student choice at a pace that supports deep, critical thinking.
We’re still in the early stages, and we’re making good progress. Already teachers are bringing in their students to learn and explore with resources such as recycled materials for building, Lego robotics kits, littleBits electronic building blocks, and iPad-conrolled Sphero robots. We’ve also invited our faculty and staff to check out furniture samples that might go into the space, and we’re collecting their feedback via a Google form. We deliberately chose furniture pieces that are easily movable and adaptable, and we’re looking forward to finding out what our teachers think about how to best design the space.
So why is it called the i3 lab? Because it’s a space where a student can imagine, innovate, and inspire. And why is it written as i3, which looks like i “cubed?” Because while a cube is a box, we want to encourage our students to not only think outside the box, but to stand on top of it as they look toward the future.
October 13, 2016
April 13, 2014
January 14, 2014