Innovation Lab Creates a 21st Century Learning Environment
SHEBOYGAN, Wis. – On August 29th, the Random Lake School District revealed their new Innovation Lab to the public at their Back to School Ice Cream Social. Parents, students, and community members were invited to view the lab which features state of the art technology in collaborative work spaces. The lab is designed to accommodate Random Lake’s youngest learners all the way up through high school and community groups.
The Innovation Lab began as an idea almost two years ago when Elementary Principal, Sandra Mountain, and former Middle School Principal, Amanda Jacobson, heard about a grant through Wisconsin Technology Initiative (WTI). The initial grant of $25,000 covered parts of the lab such as the telepresence unit and smart boards. The district applied for more grants and were awarded another $75,000 through the Bruce Krier Grant and Kohler Foundation.
The technology acquired allows for students to use their laptops and cast images on monitors located at each table. A conference table with an interactive monitor allows for images to be displayed in view throughout the room.
“This would be perfect for doing a group research project!” observed 4th grade student Alexandra Schmit as she and fellow students tested out some of the technologies offered.
A telepresence unit allows for students to collaborate globally as well as provides a distance learning lab to provide students an opportunity to attend satellite classes with other institutions, such as with Lakeshore Technical College (LTC).
“This space provides opportunities to maximize the benefits of technology as a learning tool,” describes Mountain. “The ultimate goal is to provide learning opportunities that would not be possible without the technology available in the Innovation Lab, giving our students a distinct advantage as learners!”
The layout and design were completed in a collaboration with Wilks Furniture of Random Lake where Kris Bemis and Alexia (Horstmeier) Birenbaum helped to design and provide the interiors. Badger Tag added the finishing touches to the back wall with a beautiful sunrise mural of Random Lake provided to us from a photo taken by Thomas Hagel, Random Lake resident.
All teachers will be trained on how to utilize the technologies and can reserve the lab to use with their students as well as for professional development opportunities. Community groups and employers are invited to take advantage of the technologies the lab has to offer.
“This room is a community collaboration in creating a 21st Century learning environment where we all have access to the best high tech and telecommunications technology available,” explains Mike Trimberger, Random Lake Schools District Administrator.
As a way to showcase the room, the district has the distinct privilege of hosting Michael Ottoman, President of Digital Solutions at Optimal Designs. He and his company have worked with corporations like Disney and others to create futuristic technological experiences like ‘The Void’. The community is invited to hear him talk about the future of technology on December 3, at 1:45 pm in their Innovation Room. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.