Making space for technology and collaborative learning at GCC

By Val Rodell

Contributing Writer

GREENSBURG — Greensburg Central Catholic Junior-Senior High School students are learning the critical thinking skills needed to succeed in today’s high-tech world in the school’s Maker Space.

GCC installed the Maker Space — a collaborative work space designed for making, learning, exploring and sharing using high-tech and “no-tech” tools — in 2016. In the coming year, students will be able to hone those skills even further as the school develops an enhanced Maker Space.

GCC received a $10,000 Innovation Grant at the Celebration of Catholic Schools Breakfast in October to help support the project.

“Students prepare for future careers in the GCC Maker Space by practicing applying the skills they learn in math, science and other classes to problems we all face in the real world,” said Matt Very, GCC technology education instructor.

Students work on skills in science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) in the Maker Space, which is designed to foster creativity, ingenuity, learning and passion. The space includes 3D printers, robotics, coding and programming equipment.

Junior high students develop and build robots and robotic tools. High school seniors can take an engineering course. They use the 3D printer to participate in a pasta bridge-building project, and use what they’ve learned to solve a problem as a final project.

“It is important that students be able to blend physical manipulation with critical thinking skills and a wide range of technology, from hand tools to 3D modeling,” Very said.

Enhancing the Maker Space involves moving it from the third floor to the former library space on the main floor, providing more space for more students and larger projects. New multimedia workstation tables will be installed to facilitate collaboration among students. Additional 3D printers, a laser cutter, 3D milling machine, a computer numeric control machine and other basic hand tools will be added, as well as new flooring and paint.

The goals of the Maker Space are to provide a resource for technology classes and to enhance learning in classes across the entire curriculum, according to Dennis Cremonese, director of institutional advancement.

“Arts, sciences and electives will be able to use the Maker Space and apply their learning, demonstrate academic concepts and connect their lessons to other disciplines,” he said.

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