Mobile Makerspace: A one-of-a-kind classroom on wheels

Published 8:57 am Wednesday, May 8, 2024

The new Mobile Makerspace made its first stop at Oak Park Middle School on Tuesday, May 7.

The Mobile Makerspace is decked with technology and resources that introduce students to high-tech tools and skills to prepare them for the future workforce.

Calcasieu Parish School Board Chief Technology Officer Kim Leblanc said that the concept of a one-of-a-kind classroom on wheels has been in the works for five years. The ultimate goal is to enhance individual schools’ curricula with technology from CPSB Makerspace – a tech training center that provides students with hands-on, tech-integrated STEM experiences.

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CPSB technology facilitators work directly with school staff to determine what technology will coincide with the classes’ lessons and schedule bus visits.

“We’ve wanted something that could directly with the technology to the schools, especially since not all schools have all the technology,” she said.

The curriculum-based use of technology will lay down an energetic foundation for students that will develop their STEM skills and prep them for future technological advances, said the technology facilitator for Oak Park Holly Doga.

“Technology is the future. So you have to get these kids ready for what’s to come.”

Leblanc said that accessibility to technology is vital for students’ future careers. The CPSB Technology Department’s passion for giving all public school students access to resources they need to succeed was a main motivator for the Mobile Makerspace’s development. With the quick evolution of technology, this is especially important for students entering STEM careers.

“We want to go to the schools to give all children experience, and right now you never know what careers are going to be out there, especially when you think of kindergarteners and how much everything is going to change by the time they’re going to be seniors.”

Initiatives like the Makerspace with bolster students’ skill development in a way that will make them marketable for Calcasieu’s industry-rich workforce. Leblanc highlighted skills like collaboration, communication, design thinking and problem-solving.

“Those are things that will help kids to succeed no matter what their job may be in the future.”

The VR activity that was on the Mobile Makerspace on Tuesday guided students through the timeline of how technology has evolved. Doga said that this activity simultaneously gave students the basics of tech and got them “pumped up.” The students also created holograms in the VR space.

Other activities on the bus included coding, augmented reality and drone delivery.

In line with their mission to prep students for the workforce, the CPSB Technology Department has partnered with the Career and Technical Education Department’s Education Rising program, which gives high school students who want to be educators tangible experience before graduation.

The Education Rising students will be assisting with the bus at Tech Camp and other community events so that they can experience alternative classroom environments.

The Mobile Makerspace will be making stops throughout the district. This summer, the bus will be parked at several community events in partnership with the City of Lake Charles.