Baltimore Design School in Greenmount West partnered with telecom giant Verizon to launch a new center for the school’s students to experience AI, robotics and other tech.
The Verizon Innovative Learning Lab lab comes equipped with augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) equipment, 3D printers, robotics kits and computers for students. Teachers also receive training on a curriculum developed the J. Orin Edson Entrepreneurship + Innovation Institute at Arizona State University. The knowledge won’t be limited to the lab and instead permeate the whole school, as all its teachers will get to engage with the curriculum.
“We’re designers here, and our mission is designing Baltimore, one student at a time,” school principal Darrin Brozene told Technical.ly. “We push college and career readiness. We do it through design thinking and critical thinking skills. Now, students have another avenue to explore with this innovation lab.”
The school applied for the partnership with Verizon back in December of 2020, with the year-long construction process beginning the following summer. Brozene believes that the school’s application stood out because it highlighted how the lab could complement the school’s extant programming. It wasn’t just a shiny addition: The lab’s 3D printer and design tools would allow students to bring classroom learning on design theories to life.
The school’s eighth-grade students will be the first to take advantage of the lab, with more grades being incorporated over time.
“A lot of times, when we think about [STEM courses and hands-on technology courses], we think high school, but what we really wanted [was] to get our middle schoolers into it.” Brozene said. “What we see is, the more we engage our middle schoolers and they see the applications and practicality of having these skills, they’re going to stick with us until high school. So we can support them from sixth grade all the way until twelfth grade.”Donte Kirby is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation.
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