STEAM LEARNING CENTER
STEAM Education has transformed the way educators and designers approach student learning.
At the start of a new project, one question that is asked across all districts is “Where do we see the future of education going for our students?” Most of the time, the answer is to create a flexible learning environment that promotes collaboration, active learning, and provides access to technology. At the start of any renovation or new construction project, conversations should occur with architects and designers about what these flexible learning environments look like and how they fit into the district’s educational model. By embracing these new learning cultures, facilities can be tailor-made to promote student engagement. Many times, this can result in the integration of design concepts that mirror higher education and corporate work environments such as transparent and flexible spaces of varying sizes to encourage independent work and spontaneous collaboration – skills that students need to develop to be successful in the 21st century workforce.
WHERE IS THE FUTURE OF EDUCATION GOING?
One of the highlights of the capital project at Groton Central School District included the complete renovation of a wing at the Junior-Senior High School to allow for a STEAM learning center to be placed in the building. This allows students to take courses and gain skills necessary for a 21st Century workforce, in an instructional setting that is focused on project-based learning.
Groton CSD STEAM Coordinator Mick Levick has been instrumental in informing the students of the concept of the STEAM lab, and giving them the freedom to explore its possibilities. Mick has stated that the variety of the spaces and learning environments in the STEAM lab has given the students and the faculty the flexibility to ‘choose your own adventure’ in their educational programs. They have been able to transform the spaces to fit the needs of their tasks on a day to day, class to class basis. The ability for the learning environments to transform to the needs of the curriculum has been integral in the success of the program in the inaugural year.
THe project will provide the District with the opportunity to be a satellite STEAM academy for the region.
Community organizations have rallied around the space, as it has the possibility to become an economic engine. An Agricultural Steering Committee, comprised of community members, now promote the expansion of an agricultural program in the space. Experts in various STEAM careers have offered their services as guest speakers. And community and regional businesses have opened their doors for field trips to the site. Adult education in Groton is also now being enjoyed by the community in the new space.
Location: Groton Central School District, Groton, NY
Photography: David Lamb Photography