Rocky Hill School Unveils New Innovative Learning Space

    October 24, 2016
    Rocky Hill School is pleased to announce the dedication and opening of a classroom unlike any other on the campus. The Idea Lab, made possible with the generous support of The Champlin Foundations and parents from the Class of 2016, naturally promotes creativity, collaboration, and excitement for learning just by nature of its physical appearance.

    Unlike any other learning and making environment on campus, the Idea Lab, or I-Lab for short, is a dynamic, technology-infused space for students and faculty across all divisions and disciplines. With cutting-edge projection capabilities and a high-tech interactive whiteboard, Steelcase mobile furniture​, ​rolling dividers, and six new, large screen iMac desktop computers, the I-Lab actively invites and promotes design thinking, creativity, collaboration, and multiple forms of learning, producing, and communicating knowledge. The I-Lab provides opportunities for interdisciplinary activities, experimentation, and alternative forms of expression, while encouraging research, risk-taking, invention, and innovation. It can effectively accommodate a presentation model where students or faculty are addressing the class as a whole. It can then be quickly rearranged to support small teams for creative brainstorming, with students using the whiteboard wall spaces and portable white boards to capture and record their ideas for all to see. 

    “Students learn best through experiences,” said Michael Jedrey, Head of the Middle School at Rocky Hill. “It has long been recognized that teacher-centered instruction is the least effective methodology for student learning. As a small independent school with a strong environmental focus, experiential learning is an important component of our pedagogy. Students need the freedom to more deeply explore their ideas and to work together with their peers to design solutions to challenges without the constraints of predetermined solutions and pathways.”
    The I-Lab, located in the Hale Science Center building, will also serve as a training space for teachers from Rocky Hill School and later, the broader academic community.

    “We envision the I-Lab as an environment where students are encouraged to step out of their comfort zone and become problem solvers and strategizers,” said Head of School Dr. James Tracy. “The proper learning environment invites and depends upon collaboration and teamwork, which in turn builds listening and communication skills, as well as leadership qualities. These are some of the most critical skills needed in our 21st century learners. We feel very fortunate to be able to create an engaging and dynamic learning environment on our campus. The Champlin Foundations remain a champion in the community for education and we thank them for their generous support of Rocky Hill School and schools throughout Rhode Island.”