Photo by Bryce Owen — Students experiment with circuits in the new Innovation Commons, Sept. 25.
By Reece M. Krantz ’16
Hector Valdouvous ’19 creates a cylinder on a computer program, and drags it into another shape. He is working on an object a freshman can use, a reusable candle.
This summer the Information Commons transformed into the Innovation Commons, the goal of which is to create a technologic space for future classes.
The new space has garnered numerous reactions from students and teachers.
With new computers, 3D printers and laser cutters, the Innovation Commons has a greatly expanded utility role for the campus.
All freshmen now take a class called Introduction to Innovative Technologies where they will put theses new resources to use through creative projects and problem solving.
Mr. Lewkowitc teaches the class.
He said the main purpose is to incorporate 3D into a comprehensive class structure.
“We want this class to be about technology and innovation,” said Mr. Lewkowitc. “We have a fabrication component to a coding component.”
Mr Lewkowtic also added that he wanted it to be a blend of art and technology for the school.
Diego Ramirez ’19 and Jesus Castro ’19 are the Innovative Technologies lass and have good things to say about it so far.
“I think this class is pretty fun and very interesting I’m learning a lot of new things
3d printing,” Ramirez said.
“You can do anything creative that comes to mind,” Castro said.
Ramirez and Castro are were working on making a toothpaste squeezer, as an application for everyday items a freshman could use.
Andrew Onyepunuka ’19 says the possibiltles are endless for the class.
“We can make nunchucks and prosthetic arms, endless possibilities. I don’t know if we are that good yet, but I would like to make a robot or a quad helicopter,” Onyepunuka said.
Many of the students also cited the Cute Animal Friday was on of their favorite activities. It essentially involved watching cute animals for enjoyment.
The new space will also allow engineering students to construct more complex and accurate projects with math and science students to conduct labs and perform complex arithmetic.
Students are excited for the opening of the Innovation Commons, like Krishna Murugan ’16. “For my class I think it is going to be useless, but it is an exciting prospect for others,” Murugan said.
“You know, outside of athletics, everything has become technology, preparing them from the start for technology is incredibly important,” Murugan added.
“You can do pretty much everything with technology for math, engineering and technology,” Murugan said. “I would have totally loved the Innovation Commons if I was a freshman.”
Brendan Morey ’17 said he likes the concept, but has concerns regarding its worth. “I like the overall idea they are trying to achieve with the Innovation Commons, but I’m not sure it is worth the cost,” Morey said.
Teachers also stand to benefit from the expanded academic utility of the Innovation Commons Mr. Zach Widbin, the Intro to Engineering and Physics teacher, said the possibilities are numerous.
“The possibilities are anything; it’s going to be up to the students what they do with the Commons,” Mr. Widbin said. “A kid who is motivated to use the space is limitless.”
As for classes, Mr. Widbin said the new technology benefits all.
“As a supplement for a drafting unit, we will use the computer space as a place for design in CAD (Computer-Aided-Design) programs,” Mr. Widbin said. “In the past students would use CAD, but with no easy way to utilize it fully. With 3D printers we can actually design and redesign our projects, rather than just planning and building.”
“One thing that I’ve kicked around, instead of cardboard canoes we actually 3D print them,” Mr. Widbin said. “Any time we deal with cardboard its a long and messy process.”
The Innovation Commons is set to be completed this year.