CLEVELAND – Computers and equipment you’d once only find at high-tech companies are now landing in the hands of students in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.
On Wednesday, the Almira K-8 School on the world west side officially dedicated its new 5G learning lab.
A grant and partnership with Verizon covered the $ 250,000 price tag.
The newly-renovated room includes two virtual reality stations, along with four augmented reality stations.
Students also have access to a handful of 3-D printers.
“Puts our children from the City of Cleveland on a level-playing field with the suburban kids,” said Karen Dorsey-Wallenhorst, teacher.
Dorsey Wallenhorst said the technology provides an opportunity of a lifetime for students at Almira and the students there are eager to incorporate STEM technology into their studies.
We asked Marxis Blaine to give us a tour of the new 5G learning lab inside his school.
“Balloons! Who does not like balloons?” said Blaine.
When even the smallest of details are worth celebrating, you know someone is overly excited about something.
“Little stools,” Blaine said.
We had a hard time keeping up with Blaine.
“Walk over here, walk with me, walk with me,” Blaine said.
The eighth-grader was eager to show off the STEM technology.
“Technology is one of the best things we can teach kids in the modern age,” Blaine said.
With virtual reality, students can enhance their education.
“Let’s say you’re doing a class on Louisiana, but you don’t know anything about it because you haven’t been there. With the VR headsets you can go there, go places,” Blaine said.
And there are more than enough of them to go around inside the learning lab.
“We have so many. Three, six, nine, 10, 11, 12, 13!” counted Blaine.
When it comes to the 3-D printers, Blaine loves that he can take a vision and turn it into something tangible.
“Being able to use my creativity and mind to make stuff – how cool is that, to be able to just make materials out of thin air? The future is amazing!” said Blaine.
For the students at Almira, the future is now.
“I love that I can get the opportunity to be here and to touch these items as a student,” Blaine said.
The staff at the school said the lab will help launch students into careers they may go into after they leave the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.
“You really want to expose kids to technology at a young age so it will be easy for them to understand as they grow up and it gets more convoluted,” Blaine said.
With countless technology careers out there, Blaine said he would like to land a job in the field after college, but there’s another passion that shares the spotlight.
“I also like cooking as a hobby of mine, but I also like tech,” Blaine said.
Regardless of where he lands, with his unmatched enthusiasm, we know Blaine will go far.
“It’s just so exciting to see it turn into this, I just wanted to be at the forefront of it,” Blaine said.
Almira is one of only three CMSD schools with a 5G learning lab, and the only one on the west side side.
Interesting fact: back in 2019, E-Prep School in Cleveland was the very first in the country to receive a 5G learning lab. The charter school serves more than 700 students.