DUBOIS — Elementary students at Northeast Dubois and Holland Elementary schools were introduced to new Design & Innovation Studios Monday, thanks to a partnership between Vincennes University and the Indiana Next Generation Manufacturing Competitiveness Center at Purdue University.
The studios provide opportunities for students and educators to find new and innovative ways to help develop critical thinking skills and other ways to help students stay engaged in the classroom at an early age. The studios provide hands-on experience with robotics and coding that the students were practicing with on Monday.
Sasha Harrell the director of education and the workforce of Purdue University spoke on the motivation behind this process in changing how students learn in the classroom.
“What we do is we leverage research around perception of manufacturing for kids and educators from kindergarten to college,” Harrell said. “The idea around design and innovation studios was based off research from the Indiana Manufacturing Institute stating that we needed the opportunity to start looking at these skill sets that integrate digital and manufacturing skills in the workforce.”
One of the goals Harrell also talked about in implementing these new learning techniques through technology is finding ways to build up students’ confidence in their ability to learn and have improved success in identifying career pathways that really fit their strengths as they go into middle school, high school and so forth.
Another goal of Vincennes and Purdue University with these In-Mac Design and innovation studios is to continue to expand across the state and to have over 50 studios by next year.
The goal is to provide a solid building block of opportunities for kids to find their passion while in school, whether this leads them to developing a desire toward getting an engineering degree, computer science or a technician career path.
Vincennes University President Chuck Johnson who attended the event Monday, is excited about the next generation of students going forward and how much more informed and educated they’ll be.
“We know when students are engaged they are more willing to learn and I think that this is maybe one gateway to see some other practical applications in terms of improved reading comprehension and understating directions,” Johnson said. “This is a way to help them learn in a different way opposed to a traditional classroom environment involving working with others, trial and error, trouble shooting all skill sets that they will need to be successful in the workforce.”