• New Year, New Sensor!

    Posted by CYNTHIA MALDONADO on 1/6/2020 2:00:00 PM

    Happy New Year! As 2020 begins, we have learned something interesting about the Immersive Room! In order for the projection to be truly interactive, we are able to use a sensor that is located at the intersection of a wall and the floor.  This sensor will allow students and adults of all ages to be able to access the touch screen capability of our technology.  Presently, our technology team is working with the facilities team to design a protective box that will cover this sensor.  This box will maintain safety for students, preventing any trips or falls.  The box will also secure the technology in place, so that curious hands and feet do not compromise the longevity of our technology. 

    Below, you will see a close up of the sensor.

    Close up picture of sensor

    Next is a picture of the sensor in relation to the wall.

    Photo of the sensor in relation to the wall

    Last is a picture of the sensor in relation to the corner of the room.  This photo shows where all projections should meet.

    Photo of the sensor in relation to the corner of the room, where all projections should meet

    Feel free to stop by the Immersive Room on Leadership Day at MBE on January 30th!  Thanks for reading!

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  • December Blog

    Posted by MARY CATHERINE CLARK on 12/16/2019

    As 2019 comes to a close, our team celebrates all the progress we have made since receiving the grant last January. 

    We are ringing in 2020 with the following resolutions:

    • Finish calibration of software
    • Team PD to explore software
    • Setting up furniture 
    • Implementing room design when  furniture arrives
    • Preparing for Leadership Showcase on January 30th. 

     

    Happy Holidays from the special ed. team!

    Happy New Year

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  • November Updates: The Immersive Room is THANKFUL!

    Posted by CYNTHIA MALDONADO on 11/21/2019 11:20:00 AM

    The end of October and November have been busy months in the Immersive Classroom.  The technology is being finalized by the technology department. We are in the final steps of calibration.  

     

    Immersive room calibration photo, 2 walls and floor projection

    Several 2nd and 3rd grade students have had the opportunity to help the technology team by testing the calibration in the Immersive Classroom.  

    2nd grade students using the Immersive Room

    2nd grade students using the Immersive Room

    3rd grade students using the Immersive Room

    3rd grade students using the Immersive Room

    Once the technology department finalizes all technology and calibration, our team will partake in training so we are well versed with the new systems and devices.  Stay tuned to hear more about this training!

    Good news, our desk is in!  Our desktop and tower are set up, connected, and ready to go.  We have also ordered furniture for the classroom, including seating and tables.  We hope to have these installed by the new year. 

    Picture of side view of computer desk

    Picture of front view of computer desk

    We hope to have more updates before school is out for Winter Break!  This year, we are thankful for our students, our administration, our faculty, and our dedicated blog followers.  Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

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  • October Updates

    Posted 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. 

     

    PTO Pic

     

    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. 

     

    View of 2 wall projectors

     

    Opposite side view of wall projector

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  • September Updates

    Posted 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.

     Blinds and molding

    Blinds Open

    Wall technology

    Corner technology

    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.

    Computer Desk

    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!

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  • Summer Updates

    Posted 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.

    Immersive classroom wall

    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.

     

    Immersive classroom painted

     

    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.

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  • Looking Ahead...Sensory Plans and Professional Development

    Posted 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.

     

    Sensory Lights

     

    Flooring

    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!

     

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  • April Updates

    Posted 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.

     

    Immersive

     

    Meeting 1

     

    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.

     

    Meeting 2

     

    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.

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  • "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

    Classroom

     

    Cosmetic:

    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.

     

    Digital:

    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)

     

     

    Suggested Layout: 

      

    Camera Corner

    The camera(s) will be installed to project images on these two walls and the floor space. 

     

    Classroom 3

    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. 

     

     

    Next Steps:

    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.

     

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  • 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.

     

    Shared Experiences via Immersive Classroom

    UK Immersive Classroom

     

    Our Team:

    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

    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. 

     

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