The students at Benjamin E. Mays High School now have a new “sandbox for learning,” after the opening of the two Google Tech Hubs on campus.
Atlanta Public Schools’ partnership with Google and the Georgia Tech Center for Education Integrating Science and Mathematics and Computing (CEISMC) has delivered an engaging experience for students at Mays to get a hands-on experience learning with the tools and technology of the future.
“The tech hub gives the students a sandbox for deeper learning,” CEISMC associate director for school and community engagement Norman “Storm” Robinson III said. “We are actually doing industry level type tasks. So now, students can make that direct correlation from the things you learn in the classroom to a career making a livable earning wage.”
Google was the first corporate partner to fully take on the adopt-a-school model and worked with Mays High School to design a space and develop a program fitting the needs of the students.
“We wanted corporations to have a deeper engagement approach with schools,” APS executive director of partnerships and development Joi Hunter said. “In thinking about a model that was not just for one year but will be impactful and sustainable for years and years to come.”
“Google’s strong commitment to listening to school leadership on the needs of their students has been truly instrumental to building this relationship and serves as an example for other corporations across the district,” she added.
Malachi Rivers, a senior at Mays High School, was one of the few students who experienced working with Google on three main capstone projects: Game Design, Engineering and Computer Design.
As a straight-A student, Rivers relished the challenge of working on an interactive project and that he actually enjoyed. He took on all three capstones, which included creating a game server for the school, designing and building a tour-bot that will autonomously traverse the school and provide information about the school, and designing a game that solves one of 17 United Nations sustainable problems.
Rivers, of course, is attempting to solve three he believes are interconnected.
“This brings a little more excitement to my high school career,” he said. “Having access to this type of information and technology brings more interactive ways to learn to students like myself.”
“With Google, it’s like, ‘Hey. I’m going to teach you how to do this. We’re going to build it together, and then we’re actually going to use it and play with it,’” he added. “If this is the learning experience I can get daily, I’d rather have this in high school than the traditional ‘teach this and test on this.’”
In Anbria Powell’s 12th-grade game design class, students utilize their critical thinking, computational thinking, and problem-solving skills to work on 2-D and 3-D development as well as networking. Ultimately, the game server they are building in her class will be used by the school.
“This partnership just takes our level of engagement to a different level,” Mays High School principal Ramon Garner said. “I’m really excited about what’s to come and the pipeline that we’re creating here for students that will be able to take on jobs at Google or anywhere else. It feels almost like a proud parent to see kids really take on and understand what they’re doing and make the connection that this is meaningful work that is preparing them for their future.”