October UpdatesPosted by MARY CATHERINE CLARK on 10/16/2019
This month our team has continued to gather resources for the immersive classroom. We are also celebrating a huge monitary contribution from Representive David Faulkner.
After speaking to our technology coordinator, the three monitors have been built into the ceiling. We are anxiously awaiting the arrival for our sensors that link movement to the monitors and the software. Our hope is that these sensors arrive by the end of the month.
In regards to furniture, our team has been in communication with our school's go-to rep. We have received quotes on a circular table and servarl chair options that fit the needs and style of our classroom. We hope to move forward with ordering their pices in the next few weeks.
September UpdatesPosted by CYNTHIA MALDONADO on 9/30/2019
The room has made progress this month and our team is eager to utilize the technology we have been waiting for! We have the projectors, sensors, shoe moldings, and shades installed.
Our team has identified a computer desk that will fit the needs of our room perfectly, and have worked with administration to secure additional furniture. The hope is that the computer desk will arrive within the next few weeks, in order to have our technology installed and running as soon as possible.
The team is considering quotes for different furniture options that will meet the needs of our learners. After seeing what furniture fits in our budget, we will place furniture orders. Check back in around Halloween to see our progress!
Summer UpdatesPosted by MARY CATHERINE CLARK on 8/1/2019
The new school year is just a few days away, and the immersive classroom is getting closer to being finished. Over the past month new flooring was put down. In order for the image to appear on the floor with no color distortion, light grey flooring was needed. To help the wall images appear vibrant and clear, the walls were also painted a similar light grey.
The computers needed to operate the Immersive program have been ordered and will soon be installed along the side wall. To setup the computer, the wiring on the far back wall is being rerouted to the side wall near the door. This will allow teachers using the technology to still have visibility of the interactive space and windows for seating.
Glass panels will soon be installed in between the windows. They will be used to enhance lessons and will give the students access to scribing math problems, creative ideas, or reflections from lessons. The seating for the immersive classroom will be installed and everything is cleaned up.
We are so excited about this year and thankful for the opportunity to bring this technology to our students.
Looking Ahead...Sensory Plans and Professional DevelopmentPosted by CYNTHIA MALDONADO on 5/28/2019 10:05:00 AM
Today is our last working day before we are out for summer break. We are busy working on the sensory space for our new interactive room. We are prioritizing our students' needs and focusing on ordering sensory lighting and flooring that will be useful to all students. Included below are some examples of fiber optic lights and interlocking foam mats that we are planning to purchase for the sensory space.
Our designs are coming together and we have big plans for professional development. The MBE team will meet over four days in June to become famililar with the interactive technology that will be used in our classroom. With the help of Paula Stanbridge, technology coordinator at Crestline Elementary School, we will learn how to navigate the technology, manipulate software, and start creating lessons. Check back in at the end of June to see the progress that we've made!
April UpdatesPosted by ELIZABETH (BETSIE) BOGGS on 4/26/2019
April has been a busy planning month for our special education team. We have been busy planning the design and layout of our room in addition to getting all of our spring paperwork finished! We are trying to squeeze all of our major work in before May 24th, the last day of school. We are excited to have dedicated time this summer to learning new software, installing our equipment, and getting the immersive classroom set up and running.
This month we have cleaned out the room, ordered immersive technology, and designed possible layouts for the room. On April 10th our team met with the the technology department and our principal, Ashley McCombs, to brainstorm ideas for the layout of the room. Each team member had unique ideas for ways to utilize the space. We want to make sure the needs of all our different learners can be met. It is necessary to have about a quarter of corner space for the projection of the interactive walls and floor. The remaining space will be designed by our team. We want to incorporate seating, writable surfaces, and a sensory area.
We also met with our maintenance department on April 23rd to ensure we are getting the correct paint colors, flooring, and room darkening shades. The walls and floor will be a light gray to better enhance the projection on the interactive walls and floor. The floor will be laminate throughout the room. We will have to accent walls painted green with glass overlays for writing. This will allow for students to provide responses and engage in lessons using different modalities. We will be working on designing a sensory space for the room next month.
We are excited to get the ball rolling on classroom design. We truly feel like possibilities are endless for the space. We will be making decisions on furniture and sensory items to finalize the design and layout. We can’t wait to see more progress over the next few months.
"Before"Posted by MARY CATHERINE CLARK on 3/28/2019
It’s safe to say that one of the best parts of any renovation is the traditional “before and after” picture. The image below is what we are considering our “before” picture for the new immersive classroom. It’s no secret that a number of things need to be accomplished in order for us to transform this space into an interactive world suitable for learning.
March 01, 2019
Our wonderful school custodial staff have started clearing out the room. Tables, chairs and dry-erase boards have found new homes. Work orders for fresh paint jobs and carpet removal have also been placed.
Prior to her cross-country move in February, Thea developed a list of devices that would help bring our Immersive classroom to life. The team collaborated with technology coordinators at the Board of Education to discuss the ordering process for the following materials:
- 1 Dell Computer
- 1 Precision 5820 Tower (Vendor: CDWG)
- 3 Short Throw Projectors (Vendor: Immersive)
- 2 HDMI to DisplayPort Adapters (Vendor: Amazon)
The camera(s) will be installed to project images on these two walls and the floor space.
This section of the room will include dry-erase walls and materials to help facilitate additional learning. One of our goals for this classroom is to use it for small group lessons. The area away from the projector would allow for follow up activities and questions that reflect on the experiences created through the immersive technology.
Going forward, the team has set a meeting with administration to order the cameras and furniture for the space. Stay tuned for next month’s post to see our progress.
And so it begins...Posted by MARY CATHERINE CLARK on 2/26/2019
Welcome to our Institute for Innovation blog. As we start our journey, we would first like to thank the grant team for the support and financial commitment needed to create our immersive classroom. The support of the grant team, along with our school’s administration will allow us to create a completely interactive classroom unlike any classroom seen in the United States.
What is an Immersive Classroom?
An immersive classroom takes top rate technology and creates a completely interactive environment. Through the use of technology, images are projected onto walls and floors. The cameras track human movements, which ultimately allow students to co-exist with digital projections. The goal of our immersive classroom is to take students beyond the confines of their disabilities and explore the world through an adapted lense. The links below show how an immersive classroom has changed the lives of students and teachers in the UK. It is our goal to create a similar space at MBE and have our immersive classroom pave the way for other classrooms in the US.
Thea Patrick: Technology Coordinator
Thea has been MBE’s technology guru since June 2015. Having recently moved to California at the first of this month, her guidance and support will travel back to Alabama via skype and phone conference. Thea is the mastermind behind our project and helps us with all things technology. In her absence, tech coordinators across the district will be stepping in to help.
Betsie Boggs, Mary Catherine Clark, Mackenzie Eden, Cynthia Maldonado: Special Education Teachers
Collectively this team has been serving the special ed population for a total of 25 years. Betsie, Mary Catherine and Cynthia serve students in a more resource setting with disabilities ranging from ADD/ADHD, Autism, Speech/Language Impairments and Specific Learning Disabilities. Mackenzie’s classroom is designed to serve students with disabilities such as Autism, Cortical Visual Impairment, Down syndrome, and other rare genetic disorders.
Our Team (Left to Right: Thea Patrick, Betsie Boggs, Mary Catherine Clark, Cynthia Maldonado, Mackenzie Eden, Dr. Missy Brooks).
This post only skims the surface of who we are as educators and how we plan to utilize cutting edge technology to change the lives our students. Researching the technology and learning how to build this type of classroom naturally generates a lot of questions. Do we have all the answers; no! However, it is our goal to share a post each month covering the progress of our project. Over the course of the next year, we hope to grow in our successes, learn from our mistakes, and use this space to keep you posted along the way.
Interactive Room – Everyone Included!Posted by MELISSA (MISSY) BROOKS on 2/7/2019
Welcome to our blog!