Continuing our approach to large scale, immersive learning; the Spark Lab was created by the school, to be an exciting, dynamic and interactive environment, delivering a bespoke curriculum focused on developing soft skills such as teamwork, communication, problem solving, risk-taking and resilience by providing pupils the freedom to explore concepts and technologies not usually made available to them.
The Spark Lab featured in the Edtech50 2020 Yearbook, as one of the 50 most influential 'People, Products or Projects' in the UK Education Technology sector.
As an immersive coding environment, the Spark Lab aims to inspire the learners of today to become the visionaries of tomorrow by introducing them to concepts such as programming, robotics, engineering, 3D printing and virtual reality.
Content can be sent wirelessly to either of the Apple TV equipped 65” screens installed on the main wall, allowing collaborative work to take place in groups that are realistically too large to be gathered around a single iPad.
"The Spark Lab is Brilliant! I've really learnt a lot about things like the Archimedes' Principle by building my own robot powered ship. I love experimenting."
Year 3 Pupil
A range of robots are available to be coded and piloted, introducing concepts of physical technologies such as gyroscopic motion and transfer protocols, but also coding methods including commands, functions, variables, loops and operators. By designing, building and programming these robots, students learn and develop communication, teamwork, resilience, creativity and critical and computational thinking skills as they constantly follow a core loop of designing, building, testing and refining their solution to scalable challenges.
This approach allows learners of all levels of ability to experience the same work at the same time, with differentiation and success criteria being personalised and refined by pupils in real time, based on what they are experiencing.
"The Spark Lab is my favourite classroom, I have learnt all about physics and energy transfer by designing Rube Goldberg machines on my iPad with Sketches School and then building them. It was so much fun."
Year 5 Pupil
"The Spark Lab is a place to develop ingenuity and for a pupil to adapt to an ever changing technological world. We aim to keep our pupils at the forefront of technological change and prepare our pupils for a fully digital future."
Mr Hill, Headteacher & CEO of Apollo Academies Trust.
Working on real world concepts such as physics, engineering and practical use of robotics equips pupils with essential skills that will help them to take their education further once they leave Howard Junior, gives them an appreciation of the world around them, develops their ability to work both individually and as part of a team, to break down problems in to manageable pieces and evaluate the success of their own work; all useful skills not only for education, but for their everyday lives as well.
A Small Selection
"The ipad acts as a vital means to achieving goals within the Spark Lab. With Apple technology, pupils are able to develop and enhance their coding and programming abilities."
Mr Kirwan, Year 6 Teacher & Assistant Headteacher