County and city schools are both looking to modernize education by making use of makerspace labs in their classrooms.

Floyd County Schools is currently in the process of installing makerspace labs in every one of its elementary schools, thanks to donations from local Masonic lodges.

Makerspace labs are a new 21st century form of education Craig Ellison, executive director of technology and media services, said. The labs will contain a variety of 3D printers, virtual reality systems, engineering based concepts and hands on DYI projects. 

The labs are set up to have a mixture of high-tech and low-tech elements to them Ellison said. The labs are not just in one teachers classroom so all students can make use of the space. The rooms are made up of multiple stations where teachers will rotate the students to make sure everyone gets the same experience.

“It’s one thing to give a kid lecture,” Ellison said. “It’s another to let them go on a virtual field trip and let them see and feel what they are learning about.”

These labs encourage STEM — science, technology, engineering and math, he added. He used Model Middle School’s existing makerspace as an example. Students were given boxes of old computers, microphones and keyboards and created robots out of the scraps. The result was truly impressive he said.

   The donations started when a local lodge member wanted to start doing more for the county schools Public Relations Manager Lenora McEntire-Doss said. Norman Barden, a local lodge member, began encouraging other lodges in the area to donate money to the school system in order to make these labs happen. Barden has kids in the school system and felt these labs would be beneficial to them and their peers.

Rome City Schools' Anna K. Davie Elementary School is also a makerspace school. Some of the things students will be able to work with during makerspace time are a Lego wall, dash and dot robots used for coding, space building and a 3D printer. The program works well with Anna K. Davies' STEAM initiative, science, technology, engineering, agriculture and mathematics. AKD offers makerspace as an incentive to students through their positive behavioral interventions and support program.

Rome City Schools contributed to this report