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November 14, 2019 // Sudbury Schools Debut Elementary Learning Studios

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Sudbury Public Schools have opened brand new Learning Studios at Noyes, Loring and Nixon Elementary Schools. A fourth, at Haynes Elementary School, is under development.

The new studios are designed as flexible, technology-focused learning spaces that can be used by both students and staff to enhance learning. The spaces are a tangible element of the district’s ongoing educational improvement initiatives, which support the implementation of innovative, research-based curriculum and educational practices.

The Learning Studios are meant to improve access to collaborative, hands-on learning experiences, with an emphasis on supporting coding and computer science education in an interdisciplinary context. In addition, the studios serve as a dedicated space for students and staff alike to learn and practice on a broader array of G Suite tools and use technology to dive deeper into experiential and project-based learning.

At Loring, the studios have been put to heavy use since the start of the school year. During STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) week, from Oct.21-25, third-grade students designed their own carnival games while collaborating with one another, thinking critically and using the new interactive panel display.

Using the rolling whiteboard easels and tables, third and fourth-grade students participated in a math lesson — generating a problem and sharing their thinking on Chromebooks — with a math coach. Several classes have also used the studio’s green screen to make informative videos, while a team of first and fourth graders worked together to create a food pantry video that will be shown to the rest of the school.

Parents can look forward to a video fourth graders are currently producing to showcase the different work being done in the studio.

“Our teachers have really enjoyed how the space allows for movement and discovery with more than one class and created a true team-oriented environment across grade levels,” Loring Assistant Principal David Gaita said. “It’s exciting to see our students exploring the studio and really diving into their learning in a meaningful and hands-on way.”

At Noyes, students have used the new Learning Studio to explore coding and have used tools both in and out of the studio to strengthen their mathematical thinking, reasoning and collaborative team building. Teachers have worked to create games and puzzles to enrich and deepen students’ understanding of key concepts, which can now be built upon with direct exposure and research.

“Winston Churchill once said, ‘Give us the tools, and we will finish the job.’ This personifies what our Learning Studio has done for us. With the creation of the collaborative, open and well-outfitted space, our teachers have been freed to take risks and stretch learning to a whole new level,” Noyes Assistant Principal Kristin Moffat said. “Teachers have expressed their joy at a space that is so flexible and easy to use. They are thrilled with the coding materials provided to assist with students' technology engineering standards and are relieved to have a space that can serve so many functions for their class and their grade level.”

Arden Anderson, a fifth-grader from Nixon, offered a student’s perspective on the Learning Studio: “It helps with learning, it’s a creative way to learn. You can use BeeBots, you can use mats, you can learn how to code and it’s fun. You can learn how to work together with partners."

In addition to supporting students’ learning, the studios serve as a unique venue to support teachers’ professional development. To support the opening of the studios, Sudbury Schools have expanded professional development opportunities to include Google-specific programming, orientation for new teachers, Google Infused Supervision and Observation and additional dedicated workshops.