By: Alicia Sands Lurry
On Wednesday, Aug. 31, Alonzo A. Crim Open Campus High School celebrated the unveiling of its new digital media center, becoming the first Atlanta Public Schools site to completely redesign and renovate its library media center from the ground up into a 21st century learning environment.
Featuring state-of-the art technology like Mac computers, iPads and LED boards, the brightly-lit space serves as the learning hub for the entire Crim school community, and encourages teachers and students to collaborate, create and communicate. It provides flexibility to meet the needs of teachers and students, and supports different teaching, learning and group dynamics ranging from quiet spaces for self-directed and casual peer learning to teacher-led instruction.
Attended by dozens of students, teachers and administrators, the ribbon-cutting ceremony featured remarks by Crim Principal Dawn Parker; Superintendent Dr. Meria J. Carstarphen; board member Matt Westmoreland; Associate Superintendent Dr. Gregory Middleton; and special guest, attorney Timothy Crim. He and his sister, Dr. Susan Crim-McClendon, are children of the late Alonzo A. Crim, for whom the school is named. Crim served as Atlanta Public Schools superintendent from 1973 to 1988.
“Expanding access to technology, which will include before, during and after school accessibility for students, community members and stakeholders, is critical to helping us bridge the digital divide,” Parker said. “We are truly fortunate that Crim can boast of having access to technology school wide … we have promethean boards, interactive boards, mini iPads, laptops, and desktops. We realize that one thing we must do for our students prior to graduation is to ensure they know how to use technology to further their learning and improve their lives in the future.”
Through the use of color, light and a variety of modern furniture, the media center was transformed into a vibrant, welcoming, learning environment with the flexibility to accommodate a wide array of programs and services. The new space also features a custom, built-in technology/computer area; flexible seating; shelving with shelves for print materials on casters; and reduced shelving to support rapidly expanding innovations in instructional technology.
Sudents like Marquell Archer and his friend DeQuavion Smith said they like the technology the best. Following the ceremony, they spent several minutes interacting with a Smart board, where selected and viewed some of their favorite football highlights on YouTube.
“I’ve never had a media center like this before,” Archer said. “I love the computer labs and all the books that are in here.”
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