“This is not your typical computer science course.” So says Jack Phillips, Middle School Technology Coordinator, about SMALLab, (Situated Multimedia Art Learning Lab), a computer-driven, mixed reality lab that encourages embodied learning. Thanks to the generosity of the Najafi family, the PCDS campus is now home to SMALLab. A Middle School classroom has been converted into a space in which students interact through full-body movement and gesture with digital graphics projected beneath their feet. Students work individually or in groups to solve complex problems using their bodies as part of the computer interface. Currently, an Upper School SMALLab course is offered, co-taught by ASU doctoral student and Najafi fellow, Christopher Martinez, and Jack Phillips. This collaboration has been so successful that ASU is looking at using the PCDS model to train all of its graduate students in the SMALLab program.
The ASU-PCDS SMALLab is one of only three in the country, and the only one in a pre-k through 12 school. The others are in a brand new New York City public school and Scottsdale’s Coronado High School. SMALLab technology allows students and teachers to create their own interactive lessons called scenarios. Teachers in all divisions at PCDS are becoming familiar with the capabilities of the technology and working to generate ideas for how their classes might utilize SMALLab scenarios in various subject areas.
To learn more about SMALLab, watch this video from ASU’s website:
SmallLab at the Phoenix Country Day School from Keith Jennings on Vimeo.