STEM Micro Campus: Middle School Converts Computer Lab into Innovation Space
- By Dian Schaffhauser
If there's one thing a robotics
class needs, it's floor space. Otherwise, students can't really test
their creations. Gaining room for that and giving the kids workspaces
where they could leave their projects to come back to later were two
of the goals for converting a traditional middle school computer lab
into an innovation lab at Chatham
in New Jersey. The lab is also used for coding and computer aided
drawing and design lessons, as part of a "STEM micro campus"
within the building.
Dagounis, supervisor of the design & technology department for
District of the Chathams,
said a major consideration for the redesign was coming up with the
right kind of furniture. Most of the pre-packaged offerings were
either too big or too small, and they lacked the space underneath to
store both the CPU and a keyboard, thereby freeing up the surfaces
for assembly work.
district eventually chose to use Collab
active learning conference tables
The design allows for pairs of students to work alongside each other,
each with his or her own monitor on the table top and a slide-out
keyboard. The tables are located over power connections, with
conduits containing the electrical wiring and cabling leading to
pop-up power and data boxes on the tabletops. CPUs are grouped under
the tables in the center area around those conduits.
chose a maple-veneer top to go with the butcher block used in an
adjoining prototype lab, which holds 3D printers, laser engravers and
Dagounis said, in a statement. "It was important to be able to
realize everything in the vision. We wanted the kids to be excited
about the new innovative space where they would do new, innovative
things. Paying attention to the little details was really important
Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.