PHOTO CREDIT: JANIQUE CASELEY, GRADE 6, ROCKY LAKE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, TWITTER POST, NOV.24. 2020
By Mary Webber & Jeff Hennigar
Dropping into the classroom to provide project support is a little different this school year. Jeff Hennigar can be supporting a class in downtown Halifax at 11am, and checking in with a student in Liverpool at noon. Brilliant Labs is proud to say that they have mastered the science of teleportation, no not really, but we have the next best thing…virtual classroom support! Teachers and students working with Brilliant Labs are inspired to make more connections across their curriculums and technology. “I was inspired by Jeff Hennigar’s tweets. I taught 42
Brilliant Labs Magazine Revue Labos Créatifs
with Jeff a few years ago and I follow his Brilliant Labs tweets for ideas.” Says Mme Lefort, a grade 3 & 4 French immersion teacher at Rockingham Elementary.
For students, one project can cover many subjects, allowing for a practical learning experience, immersing themselves into new learning contexts. Students are reporting that learning online is sometimes ‘stressful’ and ‘weird’ but also take pride and find excitement in learning new skills. They feel that virtual learning has created a safe space for some of the shyer students to flourish. They even helped each other out with troubleshooting. This project was described as “the best
thing all year” by a student. A happy thought, during such tumultuous times. This inspiration led Mme Lefort to reach out and connect with Mr Hennigar to virtually come by the classroom to offer some project support. Her students were researching habitats and were creating dioramas to represent each ecosystem. They were going to take these projects to the next level and create movement in the diorama using code. When asked if there are any challenges to virtual instruction Jeff replied, “It is definitely more challenging than being there in person. In the classroom, teachers get subtle cues from students to know if they are engaged, are ready to move on,