While books still have a role, Yellowknife Education District No. 1 students in Grade 2 and up are experimenting with new ways to learn, including 3-D printing, coding and using stop-motion animation.

Some students are following a passion in video-game design while others are controlling artificial intelligence at the push of a button.

Amr Omer demonstrates his drone skills at the Range Lake North School maker space. The space, which was added last year, is providing students the chance to use technology as a creative way to learn. Michael Hugall/NNSL photos

“It’s really cool to see the creations that you build,” said Grade 6 student Emmit Lindsay. “It’s really unique that we have the option to use tools like a 3-D printer.”

In the Range Lake North School maker space room, students are exposed to a variety of different machines, ranging from remote-controlled drones to circuit boards, giving them the opportunity to explore the world of technology creatively, said vice-principal Darryl Mitchener.

“One really good thing we’ve done this year is starting to program with the Grade 1 (students) … we can see a difference in the class,” said Mitchener. “It makes me feel that as a school board we’re doing something right.”

Students are really adapting to the new teaching methods, he added.

In the maker space room, Grade 6 student Bryson Pender controls his Lego robot. By using a motion sensor and tablet, Pender is able to direct the robot through coding software.

“We’ve learned a lot about coding, which really helps when I’m moving the robot,” said Bryson Pender.

“I really enjoy being in this (class).”

Representatives from Mildred Hall School, Range Lake North School and William McDonald School appeared at the final Yk1 board meeting of the school year last Tuesday to discuss the progress among students engaging with new technology.

Grade 6 teacher Jean-Charles Theriault said the school is well ahead of the curve when it comes to changing education methods.

“We’re at a point in the school now where we have a lot of toys we can play with, a lot of things we are able to show the kids and now it’s all about asking, ‘How can we use them to better integrate our education curriculum?’” said Theriault.

The school plans to add a laser machine in the future. It will be used to design creations out of materials such as wood and glass.

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