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Maker Movement: Lo-Ellen Park launches innovative 21st century learning lab

Two students working in the EDIT Lab
During the official opening of the EDIT (Engineering, Design + Innovative Technology) Lab at Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School, students Jenn Kim, left, and Katie Forget discussed gearbox prototypes that will be modeled using 3D design software.

It’s hands-up for hands-on at Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School where students are being challenged to conceive, collaborate and create in a high-tech lab that officially opened on Wednesday, December 20, 2017.

A 21st century hub, the EDIT (Engineering, Design + Innovative Technology) Lab provides project-based interdisciplinary learning for students. It also complements the International Baccalaureate and Specialist High Skills Major programs at the school.

The state-of-the-art classroom features AutoDesk Fusion 360 CAD/CAM software, 3D printing and vinyl cutting, CNC manufacturing equipment, programming control systems and robotics, and rapid prototyping for woodworking, metalworking and fabrication.

Part of a constructivism approach to learning known as the Maker Movement, the EDIT Lab fosters an innovator mindset, where students gain understanding and skills by talking and tinkering.

“We are proud to offer an incubator for ideas in a modern learning environment that immerses students in the world of technology,” says Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School Principal Jeff McKibbon. “Students bring their concepts to life from start to finish, allowing them to take pride and ownership in their creations. We are inspiring the next generation of engineers, designers, innovators and creators.”

The Lab supports the new Engineering, Design and Innovation course introduced at Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School this fall. The course was developed by Dan Monti, Program Leader of Mathematics, using an interdisciplinary approach. An engineer by trade, he leads the Lo-Ellen Park FIRST Robotics Team which won the honour to compete at the international level in recent years.

The Engineering, Design and Innovation course encourages students to get involved in the STEAM sector – Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics – and prepares students for engineering, design and technical studies programs in the university, college and apprenticeship pathways.

“The lab promotes a problem find and problem solve methodology,” says Principal McKibbon. “The goal is for students to think outside the box, using self-expression and creativity to guide their learning.” He adds: “We have forged meaningful partnerships with business and industry to make the experience that much more responsive and relevant. We would like to thank our partners for working with us to give students opportunities to let their imaginations soar.”

The EDIT Lab has been supported by local industry. Hatch Ltd, for instance, provided computer workstations, while the Fortin Foundation donated CNC equipment. In addition, a number of partners have offered technical services, expertise and mentorship to help inform new and innovative educational programming for students at Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School. Partners include Ionic Engineering, Hard-Line Solutions, as well as Laurentian University’s Goodman School of Mines and Bharti School of Engineering.

Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School offers Specialist High Skills Majors in various sectors. The Specialist High Skills Major is a specialized, Ministry of Education approved program that allows students to focus their learning on a specific economic sector while meeting the requirements of the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD). SHSMs assist students in their transition from secondary school to apprenticeship training, college, university or the workplace.

These programs enable students to gain sector specific skills and knowledge in engaging, career-related learning environments, and prepare in a focused way for graduation and postsecondary education, training or employment.

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Media Contact:
Jeff McKibbon, Principal, Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School,
Rainbow District School Board, 705-522-2320.