Students and staff of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School had the chance to view and explore a new addition to the media center: the STEAM Lab. This lab was built to encourage comfortable, collaborative work and communication amongst its users.
From Nov. 16-18, a corner of the media center was redesigned to create a new lab filled with three wireless Promethean ActivePanels, new tables (some including dry-erase boards as the flat top surface) and chairs, two large shelves, a couch and a mini-office area. On Monday, Nov. 18, a select group of MSD students and staff of had the chance to experience and explore the new STEAM Lab.
The new additions to the media center were donated to help students learn more efficiently; the innovative Promethean ActivePanels and dry erase tables allow students to write on them to solve problems or take notes and the new virtual reality system enhances student experience and engagement through a creative way. By playing the educational games embedded in the system, students are able to use virtual reality to increase their knowledge on a specific subject.
The renovation was a gift from the Orange Bowl Committee, a non-profit organization based in Miami Lakes, Florida, which has renovated six libraries throughout Broward County Public Schools and who reached out to MSD in February 2018.
Throughout the years, small transformations have been made to the media center.
“This is my fifth year here,” Media Specialist Diana Haneski said. “From the moment I started working here, I tried to do something to improve the library. For example, when I got here, I got soft seating, removed some of the things that were taking up a lot of space and added other furniture.”
Haneski, Principal Michelle Kefford, Superintendent Robert Runcie, Executive Director of the College Football Playoff Foundation Britton Banowsky, CEO of the Orange Bowl Committee Eric Polms, First Vice Chair of the Orange Bowl Committee Jack Seiler, Director of Innovative Learning for Broward County Public Schools Daryl Diamond and Broward County Commissioner Michael Udine were present for the Nov. 18 reveal.
Haneski cut the ribbon and the Orange Bowl mascot, Obie, walked around and took pictures with many attendees.
“Libraries [have] evolved over the years from a place where students just check out books to a space where collaboration takes place, where learning takes place,” Kefford said. “They play an integral role in our students’ learning. It’s not just about checking out a book and reading it independently; it’s about working together and creating a space that is inviting and collaborative.”
The STEAM Lab can be used by all students and teachers throughout the day.
“I definitely plan to use the ‘STEAM Lab’ during my personalization period,” senior Teyenne Jonca said. “When I have to finish annotation my book for AP [literature], I can come here to sit at one of these tables and work or if I want to work on AP [calculus] homework, I can use the [Promethean ActivePanels and dry erase tables] to practice problems.”
With the increase of technology within the school system, the STEAM Lab aids in the motivation of learning in an interactive and efficient way.
MSD’s students and staff can use the different additions, not only play games during their spare time, but also increase their knowledge by utilizing them as a unique method of study.
This story was originally published in the December 2019 Eagle Eye print edition.