Vancouver Public Schools’ newest (and greenest) bus may not be able to fly to the rainforest or travel through your cardiovascular system — but it’s helping kids do pretty magical things nonetheless.
The Vancouver school district late last year rolled out its “Maker Mobile,” a sort of traveling, high-tech craft room for students. It’s building on work that the district’s instructional technology department has been doing for several years, but packaged in the form of a retired school bus wrapped in an electric green package.
“Like the Millennium Falcon, it’s not much, but it’s got what counts,” said Eddie Sawyer from the instructional technology department.
Zach Desjarlais, the district’s director of instructional technology, said the district has designed a series of lessons that supplement what teachers are already doing in the classroom, but with a tech-forward spin. The bus is loaded up with green screens, tripods and other devices, and it is sent on the road to elementary schools around the district. Previously, individual district staff loaded up their own cars before heading on the road, a logistical headache that was nowhere near as cute.
“You have a driving billboard,” Desjarlais said.
Students at Peter S. Ogden Elementary School were greeted by the Maker Mobile on Wednesday, and they tried their hand at making their own stop-motion films. Using small clumps of clay, students in Natalie McCarstle’s fourth-grade class designed flowers, planetary systems and snowmen, snapping dozens of photos on their iPads to make short films.