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Miles Park opens Verizon Innovative Learning lab (Photo gallery)





Students can now step into a classroom at Miles Park School and instantly be transported to New York City or a tropical rainforest.

The school hosted a grand opening Wednesday for a new Verizon Innovative Learning lab that is equipped with virtual reality technology, 3D printers and more.

Before a ribbon was cut, Principal Tamika Taylor Ivory welcomed visitors to the “transformation of a classroom into a state-of-the-art space with endless learning opportunities.” She said students from preschool through eighth grade will get access for a variety of uses, as will families.

District CEO Eric Gordon said the lab and its activities fit nicely into a new CMSD vision of learning. The vision is designed to engage students more deeply and give them greater control of their learning.

Ericka Oden, president of the Miles Park School Parent Association, said she is eager for her preschool daughter to put on a virtual reality headset and visit a rainforest. Rae’yonna, a seventh grader, said she had already tried out the VR software and gotten a bird’s-eye view of New York City.

“I’m not on the ground,” she said. “I’m in the sky looking at it.”

Verizon developed the lab in partnership with the national nonprofit Heart of America and the Arizona State University J. Orin Edson Entrepreneurship + Innovation Institute.

The lab, part of Verizon’s digital inclusion strategy, is one of three to be opened in the District this year. The other two have not officially opened.

Karen Dorsey teaches at one of the other schools that won grants for a lab. She has already formed a “tech team” of 25 eighth graders who will clean computer tablets and make simple fixes, like resets.

“The kids are antsy to use the space,” she said. “They are so excited.”