This academic year, Palmer Trinity School (PTS) has made three innovation spaces available to students that encourage the development of valuable interdisciplinary skills, problem-solving and creativity.
The new active learning environments feature different work stations equipped for a wide variety of activities from visual art projects like painting and wood-cutting to digital art, videography, virtual reality, audio-recording and podcasting.
The PTS Middle School building houses The Innovation Station, the Upper School has its own innovation space in what was once a math and science room, and a garage in the school’s Falcon’s Nest has been turned into a life-size maker space to accommodate larger undertakings like The Apollo Project, a student-led solar car experiment.
Outfitted with SteelCase furniture, tables with dry-erase surfaces and various tools and equipment for hands-on learning, students are welcome to use these special spaces to work on class assignments or create passion projects of their own.
“Students are so elated about the new rooms that they are finding opportunities outside of academic time to go in. So far, it’s been an amazing thing to watch their enthusiasm as well as the excitement of the faculty who have taken their students to the spaces.
This is only the beginning of something great,” said Peter Tolmach, head of middle school.
“In these spaces students are totally engaged. They are having fun and are more inclined to control their own learning,” said Brian Diaz, innovation coordinator.
Diaz forms part of the faculty that developed the vision for a maker’s movement. After 12 years at PTS as a technology specialist, he has taken on the new role created with this vision in mind. Diaz believes in the power of innovation and creativity to broaden education.
“Innovation is taking creativity and turning it into something meaningful in the real world. It’s turning ideas into something concrete,” he said.
Faculty also has found the space to be an asset for their own disciplines, booking the innovation spaces for class projects and collaborations.
Diaz added, “It is our hope that this approach to creativity and independent learning permeate throughout campus, allowing each student to cultivate useful skills that will stay with them into adulthood.”
For more information about Palmer Trinity School, visit www.palmertrinity.org.