By Danielle Weisfisch ’20
Walk along a New York City sidewalk for long enough and you may discover a delicious slice of pizza, a one-of-a-kind retail flagship store, dozens of high-rise buildings — and miles and miles of scaffolding, also known as sidewalk sheds.
Today’s pre-primary aged students are presented with a variety of different tech tools, many of which we use at Pine Crest School.
Middle School at Pine Crest is home to new virtual reality (VR) equipment, which Pine Crest Computer Science and Technology faculty are using to teach students how to create their own virtual experiences and to influence others’ perspective.
“More content is being released and is increasingly available and accessible, and VR and augmented reality (AR) devices are becoming more effective,” said Mr. Sean Tibor, Pine Crest Computer Science and Technology Specialist. “By the time our Middle School students go to college, they will need to know how to use this equipment and feel comfortable using it.”
The terms “VR” and “AR” are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same.
“The difference is that AR takes information around you and fuses the world you are in with additional data or information — think Pokemon Go,” said Mr. Tibor. “VR is about immersion and perspective. It overlays virtual items or instances on top of the real world. The benefit of VR technology is that it can change our perspective from a few different axes: distance, time, scale, and the forthcoming, human perspective."
Delving into these axes, Mr. Tibor shared how using VR technology is not limited to one course or subject.
Pine Crest formed the School’s first-ever Lower and Middle School FIRSTⓇ LEGO LeagueⓇ (FLL) competitive teams four years ago, and since then, the Panthers have formed eight teams who have made their mark on the South Florida region.
At Pine Crest School innovation is part of the curriculum from day one. Pre-kindergarten and Kindergarten students visit the Zimmerman Family iLab, or the Mintz Family iLab each month, and have computer science class twice a week.
Students are exposed to basic algorithmic thinking and logical reasoning through elementary coding classes. Students use applications on iPads, like Dash and Dot, Ozobot, Bee-Bot, and Codeable to learn to sequence and debug code. Students see their code come to life in the small robots that complement the applications they use.
Digital portfolios are also part of their computer science and technology curriculum. Students upload samples of their assignments, or “artifacts,” to reflect on what they have learned. These portfolios will follow them throughout their academic careers at Pine Crest.
During their time in the iLabs, students are exposed to organic gardening and engineering challenges. They are exposed to the design thinking process showing students how to research, ideate, experiment, and reflect as to problem-solve and think creatively.
Students are given design challenges exposing them to the engineering process and teaching them to manipulate materials and construction techniques appropriate for their age level. Additionally, students use Squishy Circuits to learn the basics of electricity and circuitry.
This innovative curriculum is designed for students to take risks and fail forward.
Building fun, customizable, affordable bicycles has been a way for Avery Pack, founder of Republic Bike and Pine Crest Class of 1996 alumnus, to encourage people to get moving.
Pine Crest School alumnus Daniel Fine ‘13 is laser-focused on revolutionizing athletic performance. It was during a summer internship experience while he was studying at the University of Tampa that Daniel came up with an idea.
Design thinking is a methodology for creative, complex problem solving. A design thinker questions and explores possibilities with a clear goal in mind: creating a solution, service, or product that benefits the end user. This technique is often described as human-centered because it is rooted in empathy and aimed at understanding a person or group of people.
When you think of a pre-kindergarten curriculum, subjects that may come to mind are reading, writing, and math. However, in 2015 as part of the 2014-19 Strategic Plan, Pine Crest School launched a new computer science program that started with our pre-kindergarteners on both our Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale campuses.
Before setting up classrooms and welcoming students for the first day of school in August, Pine Crest School faculty participated in the Teachers Teaching Teachers professional development day. Now in its sixth year, teachers participate in a variety of peer-led learning sessions where they connected with colleagues, exchanged expertise, and engaged in dialogue about best practices.
Drawing upon inspiration by one of our School's beloved nurses, a Pine Crest second grade student imagined and designed a prototype to assist stroke patients suffering from upper extremity weakness. The end result: a system to help patients tie their long hair into a ponytail. The student was guided along the way by Pine Crest teachers and innovation specialists, using the tools available in the Zimmerman Family iLab.