Gem Prep: Pocatello Students Learn Basics of Computer Coding with FabLab
By Josh Friesen
Idaho State Journal
The Gem Prep: Pocatello charter school has been putting a different spin on the way children are taught since the school opened in 2014.
Its latest innovation? The FabLab. And inside, kids are learning in plenty of new and exciting fashions.
“The point of the FabLab is to give students an opportunity to engage in a fun way with technology,” said Bob Lee, operations manager at Gem Prep: Pocatello. “It’s an application of the things they’re learning in their classroom experience in the way they can touch and feel and manipulate and help them understand how these things apply to the real world.
Two of the more popular devices children can interact with are the Makey Makey and the Dash & Dot.
The Makey Makey is a gadget that connects everyday items to a computer and uses those items to send signals to the computer. Bananas can be used as piano keys. Playdough can be used as a remote control. Buckets of water can be turned into pads that send electronic cues when you stomp into them. The capabilities of the Makey Makey are endless, and they give students at Gem Prep: Pocatello an opportunity to use their imagination and hone their engineering, artistic and inventive skills.
“You can hook it pretty much to anything and it makes it do something,” said Mallory England, fourth-grade teacher at Gem Prep: Pocatello. “The possibilities with the Makey Makey are pretty awesome.”