WASHINGTON – In partnership with Vincennes University, Purdue University In MaC, Toyota, and STEM Education Works, Washington Junior High School held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for their new Design and Innovation Studio.
Vincennes University provided funding for the studio which is part of a large initiative they are taking to develop STEM education interest in the elementary/intermediate levels.
“We are invested in K-12 Education throughout the state, and the earlier that we can turn students on to STEM learning, it can lead them to a future that might open up education or career paths here in the southern region and beyond,” said Vincennes University President, Chuck Johnson. “Seeing how quickly the students can adapt and learn to use the equipment, and taking them away from their phones and engaged with something else is the most special part of these spaces.”
Learning basic coding, how to manipulate technology to create new products and programs, and interacting with robotics and electronics, will help these students, starting in 5th grade, open their minds to the possibility of more in the future.
“This has been in the works going back to last October when we were approached and asked if we were interested in this opportunity, and if you look around the space we have now, it was a no-brainer,” said Washington Community Schools Superintendent Kevin Frank. “We are so excited for our students to have this space to be more engaged in learning, and how it can connect to all types of disciplines, not only in the studio but in other areas like English, Social Studies, Art and so much more.”
Elire Parsons, a Seventh Grader at Washington Junior High has already learned the process of programming the new Glowforge in the studio and was able to show how the machine can create designs on types of wood placed in the machine.
STEM Learning education practices have been a focal point of late in Indiana, as a means to teach students how to use their thinking to find solutions in ways they hadn’t done before while creating a new path for themselves in the process.
Washington Community Schools Communications Coordinator, Tori Peterson, is excited to see what the space can become and how it can make learning better for students with this new studio.
“There used to be two separate libraries for the High School and Junior High, that ended up being combined to make it easier to maintain. Once that happened, this space was available, and it only made sense to put the studio here,” Peterson said. “The space is fully equipped with 3D Printers, Robotic Arms, a Glowforge, and the Jr. High Robotics team field design that was just recently released. There is so much more that can be added to the learning opportunities for our students.
This is the fourth studio Vincennes University has helped open, with plans for more than 10 Design and Innovative Studios in Indiana.