New STEAM Hub Provides Innovative Resources for Hands-On Learning

Posted by PA Distance Learning on 3/14/22 7:00 AM

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The newest tool, of the many innovative resources available to our teachers and staff, is the PA Distance Learning STEAM Hub. Research & Development Coordinator, Mrs. Katie Heiles, and other administrators have been working hard to build out the plans, physical outfitting, and supplies for the STEAM Hub for the last year. 

“The STEAM Hub provides an exciting opportunity to use a variety of resources to bring learning to life, enhancing the wonderful things our teachers and staff are already doing every day,” Mrs. Heiles explained. “The space can be used to showcase student work and to host after-school clubs.”

The STEAM Hub celebrated its “Grand Opening” last week where staff members have the opportunity to explore the resources available and learn how they can best use the space for their students. The STEAM Hub is also hosting a variety of other internal team-building activities amongst staff and external community engagement events for students and families to celebrate Youth Arts Month this March. 

“The Community Engagement Team is excited to collaborate with the teachers to bring the community together,” Community Engagement Coordinator, Ms. Abbiati said. “STEAM Hub activities will be paired with the Mobile STEAM Lab to provide engaging activities to students and families across the state.”

The large space has several themed rooms and common areas equipped with a variety of hands-on teaching and instruction tools. When entering the STEAM Hub, visitors first met with a large open space with portable whiteboards, gallery walls, storage cabinet space, and a sink and counter space. The space is intentionally left open and flexible for use amongst teachers and staff. 

After exploring, visitors will also find a large and small art studio with big windows, large tables, cameras, and, of course, art supplies. Staff also have three music rooms, an A/V production room, a performance room, and a science room at their disposal and are outfitted with similar lighting, storage space, innovative technology, and educational equipment to enhance live or independent class lessons - big or small. 

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With an obvious focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Science, Mrs. Heiles is adamant that the space is for everyone to use.

“All subjects and all grade levels are welcome,” Mrs. Heiles added. “There is always room for further development and procurement of materials needed for experiments, projects, and activities.”

Some of our teachers have already jumped into using the STEAM Hub to take advantage of the open space, technology tools, and collaboration opportunities. Two of which are elementary music teacher, Mrs. Jenna Bowman, and middle school art teacher, Ms. Daryll Jordan. 

“We have more room to be messy in the STEAM Hub,” Ms. Jordan explained. “We have a beautiful space for all of our supplies, from crayons and markers to paint, clay and fibers.” 

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“It’s a space where I can feel like I can be loud, hands-on, and interactive when teaching my young students music concepts,” Mrs. Bowman added. “My students notice that I’ve been in this new space, because I have the opportunity to use more physical instruments, and they love it. They especially love playing their school-provided instruments alongside me.” 

From robotics to performance arts to live streaming events, the space has limitless possibilities that are currently being brainstormed by staff.  

“We want to be that combination of excellence in teaching and new technology tools,” Mr. Marous, President of the Board of Trustees said. “In the end, each student deserves the best that we can give them. We want to provide an environment that gives innovators the freedom to create and grow while focusing on our students. The only way to innovate is to give the keys to the people on the front lines: our teachers.”

“Our teachers, staff, and students have already expressed a lot of excitement for this new part of the school and I can't wait to see how everyone uses it,” Mrs. Heiles said.  

Stay tuned for more updates on the STEAM Lab, and how it’s used by teachers and staff, by following us here on the school blog and Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram


About PA Distance Learning Charter School

Since 2004, PA Distance has been providing a welcoming virtual learning environment for students in grades K-12 across Pennsylvania. Students at PA Distance engage in a blended environment that combines “synchronous” and “asynchronous” learning. PA Distance’s mission is to blend proven classroom teaching techniques with educational technologies to promote academic growth for all students.

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