Request a tour of the Verizon Innovative Learning Lab at Hammocks Middle School in Miami, Florida, and you’ll see student-created virtual reality (VR) worlds and a lab filled with next-gen technologies. In the Verizon lab, students knock down bowling pins using robots, which they learn to use through coding and apps. Lois Seaman, a lab mentor, used a robotics lesson plan, one of many free lessons available to educators on Verizon Innovative Learning HQ, to structure the day’s activities.
If this all sounds futuristic enough, it is. “There’s nothing that isn’t amazing about this Verizon Innovative Learning Lab,” says Seaman.
As his students will tell you, Seaman often says technology is great, especially when it works. This feeling is a reminder that things don’t always go according to plan, whether in life or at school, and it’s the type of life lesson that Seaman exemplifies through the use of technology. Part of what her students learn in the lab is to persevere, even when the going gets tough. “What I try to show them is that as learners, as risk takers and as error makers, we will learn new things and we can integrate them at all levels. possible,” says Seaman.
The Verizon Innovative Learning Lab program is a multi-year initiative that integrates emerging technologies, such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and 3D printing, with a student-centered curriculum in a lab designed on measure. The lab curriculum encourages students to take a design-thinking approach to problem solving: to empathize, define, imagine, prototype, and test (and often retest!) in an innovative, multidisciplinary, and human-centered way to create a deeper understanding, discover ideas and develop effective solutions to challenges.
Verizon Innovative Learning Labs, along with an associated program developed in partnership with the J. Orin Edson Entrepreneurship + Innovative Institute at Arizona State University, enable schools across the country to become hubs of innovation. The lab helps students reach the heights of their own creativity, Seaman says.
Educators can freely access similar courses, professional development and learning apps, including the Verizon Innovative Learning Lab Online augmented reality app, through the Verizon Education Portal at verizon.com /learning. It’s all part of Citizen Verizon, the company’s responsible business plan to help move the world forward for all.