In an era when schools are closing
design and technology labs, the new North Kipling Junior Middle School has gone in the
other direction, linking the new design and technology lab to a science lab in an
arrangement that has raised interest across the province.
Principal Sue Stephenson says that when
the Toronto board saw the new science and technology curriculum as they were building the
new school, they decided to change the plan and put the science and technology rooms
beside each other, with a small combined television studio and computer lab in the middle,
accessible from both sides. The doors between the rooms stand open and students and
teachers pass through often.
Marilyn Orszulik is the new
schools design and technology teacher. She and the science teacher sometimes team-
teach science. One teacher can plan, organize and set up hands-on activities while the
other is teaching, or both can supervise large classes during lab experiments. At other
times the classes are split, with half in each room or with some in the computer room.
Today Orszulik is helping a Grade 8
class finish up a project that involves designing and building a toy incorporating
hydraulics. Most of the students work in pairs. The toys are in varying stages of
completion, some getting their last coats of paint, others getting the bugs worked out.
One group decides its truck needs bigger wheels. Another designer is working at making the
opening for her robots cupid-bow lips, already painted bright red, big enough so
that the lips can move in and out.
As Orszulik points out, not every
student is working on hydraulics. She indicates one student, who is finishing a rocking
horse. "She spoke no English at all four months ago," Orszulik says.
"The kids really enjoy working on
their projects and they learn a lot more," says Orszulik. So many opportunities for
jobs that involve technology exist, she explains, that the earlier kids are introduced to
it, the better.
Orszulik attended Ryerson and was a
designer before becoming a teacher. She was attracted to the new school because of the
hands-on program. She and the science teacher were also able to advise on the layout and
outfitting of the labs. Orszulik is enthusiastic about being part of the school, even if
the electrical outlets in her lab werent installed until December.
The lab has basic woodworking equipment
and power and hand tools. Since all the 850 students in the school come from four
neighbouring apartment buildings, this is probably the only access they have to a
All the classrooms, including the
science and technology labs, have windows that overlook a park and ravine. From this side
of the school, the only human habitation to be seen is a few rooftops in the far distance.
The other side, by contrast, faces a major traffic artery in northwest Toronto. On this
side is a fenced-in play area attached directly to the school building the school
has 10 kindergarten classes and five Grade ones. There are also basketball courts, which
are not fenced off from the park that surrounds the school and the attached community
centre. At night, says Stephenson, people from the neighbourhood apartments make full use
of the park.
This area of Toronto is dense with
apartment buildings, and schools stretch in a line along Kipling Avenue. The new North
Kipling Junior Middle School relieves some of the overcrowding.
North Kipling is completely wired, with
a computer lab of iMacs (besides the small lab in the TV studio), iMacs in the library and
e-mail in the classrooms. Students get their morning announcements on a TV set in their
classroom, broadcast from the TV studio that sits between the design and technology and
science labs. Students put together the morning news themselves. "Its YNN
without the commercials," says Stephenson. Students used the video camera to tape
events at a recent play day, edited the tape and produced a short item for the morning
A pamphlet on the new school talks
about how technology can transform a school. The first purpose listed is "to
establish a high level of student and staff enthusiasm for technology."
Judging from the finished model
adventure playgrounds done by the Grade 7 students and displayed in the schools
front hall and from the enthusiastic activity the Grade 8 students exhibit as they work in
the design and technology lab, North Kipling Junior Middle School is well on its way to
achieving its purpose.
New school to host DTTO conference
"You still build boxes but now you want a birdhouse that will walk, talk and
sing," says George Heighington, a design and technology teacher at East York
Collegiate in Toronto and editor of the Design and Technology Teachers of Ontario (DTTO)
Bulletin. "Its important for people to have an understanding of electronics,
mechanics, hydraulics, pneumatics and design, and problem solving and machine
applications," he says. Thats why the DTTO is working to encourage applied
technical literacy, bringing more math and science into the technical areas.
The DTTO is holding the Applied
Technical Literacy "Tech/Sci" Conference at the new North Kipling Junior Middle
School in Toronto on Saturday morning, September 30. Emphasis will be on applied
technology K-Grade 8, using the science and technology curriculum and integrated
technologies for Grades 9 and 10.
visit the DTTO web site at : www.win.com.net/dtto
When North Kipling Junior Middle School
was being built, the school board decided to set up their science lab and design and
technology lab next door to each other. The plan has enhanced student learning in both
subject areas and raised interest across the province.