Upper Canada College
Upper Canada College News
October 30, 2015

Revamped science lab provides the latest tech for Prep students

The Upper School first floor renovation has been wowing everyone who walks through the halls since the school reopened its doors to students in September, but the Prep School enjoyed its own revitalization over the summer – specifically in the Holmes Project Lab.

The Holmes Project Lab received an extreme makeover this summer, made possible through the generous, cumulative donations from Frank and Christina Holmes, parents of Jonathan ’03 and Geoffrey ’99.

In planning the overhaul, the project team took advantage of many of the learnings that have informed the Upper School renovations over the last three years. Main features of the new lab include:

  • A wall-sized whiteboard and two projectors to allow for dual interactive projection. Students and teachers can project remotely from anywhere in the room.
  • Small group work stations equipped with dedicated TV monitors so that students can share and discuss laptop screen content.
  • Five different seating options including couches and adjustable-height desks for students who would prefer to stand.
  • Adjustable-height chairs with wheels that allow for easy reconfiguration of classroom layout and spontaneous groupings.
  • Group whiteboards that can be used like tablets to collaborative brainstorming share ideas, and set goals.
  • LED lighting, sound-absorbing carpeting and bright orange accent colours to stimulate communication and collaboration

“This is about decentralizing teaching; providing students with an environment that encourages and enhances cooperative group work. It’s about giving students more control over their learning,” says Thomas Sharpe, who teaches science to Middle Division students and facilitated redevelopment of the lab as a consultant and project champion. “The new tools and technologies give the boys so many different ways to work together, and teachers the ability to quickly respond to activities and discoveries.”

The Form 6B History & Geography students were the lucky ones to try out the lab for the first time. They researched news websites and developed a list of criteria for what makes a news site reputable, discussing the content of various sites and looking for facts, opinion, bias and sensationalism. Meanwhile, teacher Sharpe had his lesson plan up on the large whiteboard and tracked student progress using the dual projector system.

Form 6B student Joseph Katz was excited to try out the new technology. After all, it’s not every day you get to watch TV in class.

“We got to plug our computers into the TV [monitors] so that we could show our table group different news sites, and you could read the news on the news sites together. It was pretty cool.”

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Emily Moir

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