Google’s offices or Academy’s iLab?

If you’ve ever seen the movie The Internship starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, the offices featured in the movie may remind you a lot of Academy’s newest iLab. The movie is set within Google’s modernized offices in California. Offices like Google show the business workspace in a new light. Like Google, the Innovation Lab has a mix of tools that can be utilized to get work done and couches and pillows to lounge on while doing so.

Google Offices are designed to make workers comfortable, thus, more productive.
Google Offices are designed to make workers comfortable, thus, more productive.

The idea of the innovation lab was put into action due to the  success of the Collaboration Lab last year. The lab we have today is part of Academy’s five-year plan to eventually transform the rest of the school to reflect our two pilot labs.

According to President Art Raimo, “While the plan is comprehensive and ambitious, it is necessary if we hope to continue to provide an education based both on best practices as we know them today and the mission, legacy and traditions of the Sisters of the Holy Names.”

Currently the lab houses: five smart boards, one large interactive television, A class set of MacBook minis (set of 25), moveable glass writing boards, moveable tables, couches, and pillows. According to the plan, “this set up better follows the learning styles of students today by allowing individualized instruction and more ways to collaborate with other students. By maximizing the space available, students are able to use techniques that help them become better intellectual individuals.”

Each projector has an Apple computer attached, along with the capability to project images from student iPads using Apple TV.

The lab currently has four middle school (Megan Hendrickson, Erin Lee, Naheed Hadir, Julie Hughes) and four high school teachers (Brian Butterly, Stacy Filocco, Melissa LeBlanc, and Dr. Lauren Oetinger) testing out the innovation lab with their classes on a rotating schedule. When asking one of our pilot teachers, Brian Butterly, he had a very positive review of the lab. Compared to a traditional classroom, he prefers the new iLab. He said, “The Innovation Lab provides for all of the aspects of the traditional classroom mode of learning, and more. I think giving students more options and opportunities to explore different avenues of learning helps them to learn more about whom they are as well as the subject matter. The lab is more comfortable and conducive for small group project based learning, problem solving, and peer to peer teaching.” Like Butterly, freshman Emma Heston loves the new iLab because it provides ” variation” and “changes things up.”

All furniture in the lab is meant to be easily moved. For example, this table can be pulled apart to create two smaller tables.

While the iLab has gained a lot of success from its students and pilot teachers, it is still a work in progress. For example, Butterly suggests that it’d be a good idea to have all the tables in the classroom have writable surfaces.

Come check out our newest Innovation Lab on the first classroom on the right upon entering our school library!