SPARQ Innovation Center and Maker Space

 

CREATING THE SPARQ

Our world is different today and our students learn differently today. The possibilities appear endless. GSES was among the first Texas schools to put technology in the hands of the students as a regular part of their daily toolkit with our 1:1 iPad initiative. With our commitment to innovating the learning environment at GSES, we recognize this sea of change and are taking action to become early leaders in this re-invention of learning and education.

WE ARE ALL IN!

We are not talking about the kind of technology “we” (adults) use at work or carry around on our Smartphones. In fact, we don’t even begin our conversations with the technology itself! We begin our conversations with the learning and find technologies that will support children’s doing and thinking. As our iPad initiative has paved the way for innovation at GSES starting this school year, we will begin work on the next “big” thing and the creation of something very exciting that answers some very big “what if’s.”

WHAT IF?

There was a place inside Good Shepherd where our students could go every day and be:

  • Explorers
  • Adventurers
  • Designers
  • Creators
  • Dreamers
  • Inventors
  • Makers
  • Entrepreneurs

WHAT IF?

This place was designed specifically to inspire innovative thinking, equipped wall-to-wall with cutting edge technology, and staffed with teachers and mentors that inspired our students to:

  • Make what they dream about
  • Think differently
  • Design first
  • Conduct research in a new way
  • Ask, “Why not?”
  • Turn their curiosities into real experiences
  • Collaborate with one another
  • Experience learning

NO MORE WHAT IF.

Introducing GSES SPARQ!

At GSES, it is our goal to explore new ways to engage our students in learning.
The world is changing and students are learning differently today - we have to pay attention to that. You may have heard that MIT has recognized the value of Makerspace portfolios in their application process. Stanford’s school has long been an innovator in creating powerful learning spaces. FabLabs, High Tech High Schools, and STEM or STEAM Labs also dot the landscape.

SPARQ IS UNIQUE BECAUSE IT…

  • Draws powerful pieces from each of these types of spaces
  • Uses unique tools that only GSES will have
  • Includes broad-based tools which are not content specific
  • Designed specifically for PreK – 8th grade students
  • Most importantly – it includes a strong commitment to innovation in the learning environment from every person at Good Shepherd! Without this commitment, all the rest is just stuff!

SPARQ will take these concepts and create a learning environment rich with possibilities that serves as a gathering point where communities of new and experienced innovators connect to work on real and personally meaningful projects, informed by helpful mentors and expertise, using new technologies to transform ideas into realities.

SPARQ will be among the first innovative spaces created for young students – the first that we know of in Texas – maybe among the first in the country.

SPARQ is a a space where students of all ages can take an idea they have, pull it out of their mind, and work with teachers and friends to make it real.

WHAT TYPES OF SPARQS WILL YOUR CHILD CREATE?

SPARQ has a high-tech stance, preferring to equip students to learn using cutting edge and innovative tools that are not always available at home. The spaces within this new learning area will be regularly renewed and updated as new tools become available and used by all GSES students from PreK through 8th grade. The images below are just a few of the tools and devices that will be available in our SPARQ space to ignite the creative thinking of the children at GSES.

Kinesthetic Learning Space with 4D Controllers

Dissect a frog or fly around the world with your hands!


Design and Rapid Prototyping Space with 3D Scanners and 3D Printers

Students can build their inventions and ideas!


Video Production Space with Green Screens

Students can create movies and presentations limited only by their imaginations.


Connection Space with Makey Makey Boards

An invention kit that enables students to connect fruit to a computer to make a banana piano, or attach wires to their friends and make them sound like different animals.

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