Innovation is kicking off in a unique way at Brunswick High School as the learning environment shifts from a traditional setting with desks and little movement to one where students have non-traditional seating and are free to move and collaborate. Ms. Tiffeney Brown, BHS Principal has led this transformation through repurposing various spaces in the high school to facilitate 21st Century Learning. Students are excited and motivated about learning in these new spaces designed with colorful themes and an abundance of materials for peer collaborations and creativity.
The major area of focus has been transforming the library into a media center designed around a STEAM framework. This transition includes the creation of an interactive lab, a Maker Space room that includes a separate area for circuits, coding, design and robotics, a multimedia room for video production and an open working space equipped with laptops and a ClearTouch interactive board. The space provides an inviting environment for mental relaxation, creativity, and stimulation. The new media center, also popular area of the high school, and has been reserved by teachers of all subjects. Recently students visited the Maker Space room to paint and create crafts as a way to release stress and mentally prepare for SOL testing. Teachers have also been busy with learning how to use the ClearTouch interactive board and facilitating SOL review using the board.
Mrs. Dalgis Mejia, high school Spanish teacher, recently facilitated a learning experience for her Spanish students in the interactive lab. Students participated in Skype sessions with their Colombian penpals to use their foreign language skills to learn about each other’s culture. The media center has proven to be a valuable part of the high school as students now have the opportunity for creation, design, production and real world learning experiences.
The 2018 -2019 season of FIRST Robotics has wound down to the final match at the World Finals. There were over 33,000 students, mentors, and teachers that led up to the FIRST Championship in Houston Texas. According to FIRST, some 700 or more teams competed and exhibited across all FIRST programs. SVRTC teams were among those who competed in the district regionals, and more recently World Championships.
The SVRTC continues to support the teams involved in FIRST Robotics, with the mentorship of Bill Wilson, Senior Technology Engineer of ITTIP. He is constantly researching new products, ideas, and solutions and to assist teams when needed. Serving as a consultant for the teams, Wilson has had the chance to watch the teams grow from first meetings to 15+ year veterans. He has provided face to face training to teams as well as training from a distance using products like Webex and Google Hangouts. “Much of the training I did in Labview programming was done remotely. The web meeting tools are well suited to provide video, voice, and data with interaction locally and remote. Working with students remotely gives me a chance to watch them work on developing their program while I assist and encourage them at the same time”, comments Wilson.
The Southern Virginia Robotics (SOVAR), a partnership between Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corporation (MBC) and SVRTC, supported ten SVRTC school divisions and eleven teams this year, including:
Team 6189 – Amelia
Team 5279 – Campbell
Team 6194 – Cumberland
Team 1598 – Danville
Team 977- Halifax
Team 5954 – Lunenburg
Team 1262- Martinsville
Team 3258 – Martinsville
Team 1413 – Mecklenburg
Team 5950 – Pittsylvania
Team 6189 – Amelia
Team 6021 – Sussex
Many of the teams will continue to review their performance during the past season in an effort to identify what went right and what went wrong, and what changes might be made to next year’s robot. There is still much to do and learn during the offseason and many teams will take advantage of this time to excel.
Even as the season is coming to an end, SVRTC teams are already making plans and preparing for the 2019 – 2020 season.