TOMBALL, Texas – When LSC-Tomball Student Elyssa Morgan, 19, was in the eighth grade she was inspired by a teacher who utilized creativity in the classroom, and thanks to LSC-Tomball’s new TEaCH Lab, she now knows how to implement creativity and technology into her own classroom to boost learning and interest with students.
“I love this class,” said Morgan, an elementary education student, who also works part-time at a local preschool. “When I work at the pre-school, I implement many of the things I’ve learned in this class.”
The TEaCH Lab is made possible through a $25,000 Campus Technology Advisory Council grant and a $1,700 mini-grant awarded by the Lone Star College Foundation, according to Latoya Hardman Lewis, LSC-Tomball director of the Associate of Arts in Teaching Program, faculty fellow, and instructor in the TEaCH Lab.
“I used those funds to purchase the furniture and technology for the room,” Lewis said. “Furniture is technology and future teachers need the opportunity to play with classroom designs that enhance learning.”
The TEaCH Lab has a unique setting that features red, blue, yellow, and green colored chairs with wheels for easy mobility in the classroom. These chairs also allow, for students can be grouped according to the color of their chairs. The desks have small whiteboards that attach to the edge of each desk, and iPads equipped with apps for gaming and presentation implementation for an enhanced learning experience for students.
“The TEaCH Lab has not been open for a full academic semester, but I can already see the benefits of the room,” Lewis stressed, before adding, “Students are eager to participate and even contribute to the design of the classroom. They use the features of the room to create, and they have transformed how they take notes and interact with their classmates and the instructor.”
Lewis went on to note that she believes the design of the room makes learning more natural, giving students the ability to learn from and interact with their peers in a more authentic way.
“They can actually see each other when they are talking; they have plenty of space to create and make learning meaningful; they can move around and not feel like there are restrictions in their environment,” Lewis explained. “In some ways, they are learning a more effective way to learn, and they can take this skill with them in other classrooms whether they are the learner or the teacher. Because the room was designed specifically for these students and their future careers, I sense that students are taking pride in their learning environment.”
Elizabeth Henao, 23, an elementary education student, said the TEaCH Lab definitely motivated her to take pride in the learning environment at LSC-Tomball.
“It makes a difference when it comes to being excited to learn in the classroom because the creative design of the classroom helps to make learning more interesting and fun,” Henao revealed. “It’s not your typical PowerPoint type of instruction. It’s so much more than that. We get to group games and we can be as creative as we want.”
As for the long-term benefits of TEaCH Lab, Lewis said, “I believe that learning in this space will not only make these students better students, but that it will also contribute to them being effective teachers one day.”
Lone Star College-Tomball is located at 35000 Tomball Parkway, at the intersection of SH 249 and Zion Road. For more information about the college, call 281.351.3300 or visit LoneStar.edu/Tomball.