Coed, independent, PK3-12th grade school in St. Petersburg, Florida.
New Innovation and Design Studio Opens in MS
by Raffi Darrow, Ebytes Editor
The Second Annual Grant Program through Steelcase Education provided 13 Schools and Universities with a classroom designed for student engagement and collaboration. Shorecrest Preparatory School was selected to receive the installation of an active learning classroom through the Active Learning Center (ALC) program. This program empowers educators to implement active learning strategies by leveraging classroom space.
Over the summer, a Steelcase Education learning environment was installed in the Middle School Arts and Sciences building by Empire Office. The classroom space easily morphs into various learning structures including lecture, independent or team work, presentation and discussion.
Shorecrest Middle School teachers Cindy Williams, Art, and Christine Scoby, Instructional Technologist and Curriculum Dean, have worked collaboratively over the past three years to implement a curriculum that merges Art and Technology to activate deeper learning across curricula and grade levels. Having their classrooms located in separate buildings across the campus has hindered the flow of integration. To allow the space to become one that is multipurpose and that fosters collaboration, dividing walls between three separate spaces were removed to create one large one, and desks, stools, easels and chairs are on wheels. Updated floorcovering, a floor power grid, lounge seating, lighting and an interactive whiteboard were also added. And the feature that surprises everyone who enters the space is the semi-opaque overhead door from Banko Overhead Doors Inc. that lowers and raises with the push of a button!
After being WOW'ed by the movement from the ceiling, many look around the technology area and ask where all the computers went. Mac laptops are tucked away in a locked, rolling cart for ease of use all over the building.
Ready for the first day of school, the active learning classroom has already impacted teaching and learning by supporting fluid movement and collaboration. "The first two days of the year have been an absolute blast." says an enthusiastic Williams. "We've had fifth graders and seventh graders. Yesterday we put up the garage door for a combined activity with both grade levels, and the outcome of the kids working together was unbelievable. We're answering the question 'What is the difference between learning and active learning?' and we're working in pairs from each grade level combined for groups of four. The seventh graders are mentors for the fifth graders with the active learning concept and the results have been unimaginable. And yes, it is the furniture, but it's also the way we're using things - moving and grouping - it's a mindset."
"I'm not going to stand here like a sage on the stage and lecture," explains Scoby. "I'll be working with a small group of students here and then go over there and work with a small group, and then they'll work together. Students can get up and take a gallery walk where they look at each others work and critique it."
"Once you start changing things, everything else kind of blossoms." Williams added.
Over the next two years, Steelcase Education and Shorecrest will partner together to conduct assessments and research on the impact of the newly designed space.
“We are honored to be recognized by The Active Learning Center grant,” says Scoby. “Like Steelcase we place a priority on providing students with the most engaging and active learning spaces available, so we are excited to be able to continue in our mission with the installation of this unique classroom.”