Baltimore, MD – July 12, 2018 – Edtech company Workbench Education today announced the expansion of a partnership with Baltimore City Public Schools (City Schools) for the 2018 - 2019 school year. After successfully piloting the Workbench solution during the 2017 - 2018 school year, the district is expanding the use of the Workbench Education platform to an additional seven of the district’s 21st Century Schools. Workbench enables schools to implement Project Based Learning (PBL), STEM/STEAM, and Making into their curriculum.
In August 2017, Workbench began its initial pilot phase with a multi-day Professional Development (PD) workshop for teachers from Wildwood Elementary/Middle School (formerly Lyndhurst Elementary/Middle School). This PD focused on educational technology hardware and software, including hands-on instruction on using the Workbench Education platform to manage classes and create standards-aligned PBL content. Hardware training involved learning how to use products from industry leaders in the maker education market, including programmable robots and drones (Sphero, Parrot), along with Arduino and circuitry kits (Makey Makey, Circuit Scribe). An emphasis was placed on using these products to provide students with a hands-on, PBL learning experience.
The expanded partnership will provide similar PD sessions with the additional seven schools, which include Arundel Elementary, Cherry Hill Elementary/Middle, Dorothy I. Height Elementary, Forest Park High, Ft. Worthington Elementary/Middle, Pimlico Elementary/Middle, and Academy for College and Career Exploration.
“Today’s students need high-quality experiences using various forms of technology. To do this, we need to provide hands-on, quality training for instructional staff in the use of tech gear and how it can be used to enhance engineering challenges and other lessons in our core curriculum,” said Dawn Shirey, Director of 21 Century Learning for City Schools.
Since 2010, City Schools has worked to address the problem of outdated infrastructure, and the 21st Century School Buildings Program was born out of this endeavor. The ambitious plan has provided renovated facilities and state-of-the-art equipment, resources and support, and spaces that foster collaboration and learning by doing.
The Workbench mission is a natural fit for the goals that City Schools has set forth to achieve through its 21st Century initiatives, with an approach that includes methods and tools to help schools improve in areas such as:
● Teaching with projects and hands-on learning
● Student engagement
● Future-ready skills
● STEM/STEAM education
● Parent and community involvement
● Teacher confidence and collaboration
“Baltimore is going through a rejuvenation involving industry, community, and education,” said Chris Sleat, founder and CEO of Workbench. “City Schools is making great strides with initiatives like the 21st Century Schools to prepare students for jobs that are being created here today in industries like manufacturing, hospitality, robotics, and software. Partnering with them to help teachers incorporate skills like programming, troubleshooting, design, and problem-solving into their core curriculum is one way Workbench can support their efforts to create future-ready learners.”
Through this City Schools’ partnership expansion, Workbench will also provide educational technology products that support a hands-on learning environment where students can learn coding skills. Workbench helped City Schools curate gear for each school based on factors like goals, grade levels, and specializations in STEM, PBL and Making.
With the addition of these seven Baltimore city schools, Workbench Education continues to grow its partner network of schools, districts and libraries to spread its mission of helping teachers at all levels provide meaningful educational experiences in a way that is both easy and scalable. This partnership will provide integration with Google’s G Suite for Education, including the option for single sign-on with Google and Google Classroom sync.
Workbench Education is an online platform to create, discover, and share standards-aligned projects and curriculum. The Workbench mission is to make teaching with projects easy and scalable in schools, districts, and libraries across the globe. The Workbench solution reduces the burden on teachers who want to teach with projects by providing a straightforward framework for authoring projects so teachers become contributors to the growing collection of easily accessible content that Workbench provides. Additionally, teachers can use their district Workbench to assign lessons and track student progress. Workbench projects are designed to turn students into makers and help educators teach anything. To see examples of Workbench projects, visit https://edu.workbencheducation.com/cwists/category/.
Workbench not only provides districts with equipment for maker education and a secure hub to access, create, and share projects, it also serves as the backbone for many of the maker education industry’s top learning communities including Sphero, Parrot, Makey Makey, Dexter Industries, SAM Labs, Circuit Scribe, and SparkFun Electronics. To learn more about Workbench Education, visit edu.workbencheducation.com.