This middle school helps students’ parents get digitally savvy, too
Students at Madrid Neighborhood School showed parents how to design their own 3D-printed objects.
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When Madrid Neighborhood School in Phoenix started offering tech classes for parents, just a few adults would show up for the lessons, says Dr. Tamara Campbell, the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools Coach at Madrid.
Today, that group has expanded to a full classroom of parents, who get to try out some of the same tools and programs their middle school children are discovering in the Verizon Innovative Learning Lab. These include a range of emerging technologies like augmented and virtual reality, 3D printing, artificial intelligence and robotics. These Labs are hubs of innovation that provide students – and the larger school community – with the opportunity to leverage technology, design thinking through project-based learning, and social innovation to design solutions to make a positive impact. “That enthusiasm for technology-based learning is contagious with the older generation,” says Campbell. “Here’s something their kids are learning and they do it and they get so excited.”
With fun tech lessons on the menu, engagement is high. “It’s helped keep parents coming each month,” says Campbell. In addition to improving digital literacy for adults in the community, the sessions also offer parents an opportunity to discuss any concerns they have about digital safety for their kids. Madrid Neighborhood School leverages content filtering software provided through Verizon Innovative Learning in order to support digital safety. Other schools and parents can also access the Cultivating Digital Citizens course and aligned micro-credential found on Verizon Innovative Learning HQ to learn more.
Students also have the chance to play professor at the sessions, and they relish the opportunity to demonstrate their own newfound digital literacy. “I like how I got to be the big one, and get to show people how to make stuff with their own ideas,” says Jazmyn Singleton, of teaching the adults Tinkercad, an online app used for 3D digital design. “It’s so cool,” says Oliver Chavez of Tinkercad. “It’s one of the best things I’ve ever learned.”
Seeing parents and kids working together fearlessly—as she describes it—on higher level tech skills has inspired Campbell. “It gives me hope for where the community is going to go,” she says.
To access free lesson plans on Tinkercad, or other next-gen learning tools for educators including innovative learning apps, lesson plans, and professional development courses, visit Verizon Innovative Learning HQ at www.verizon.com/learning.