Technology & Design
Our students use their academic learning to build, design and create. The engineering and programming team, information support team and learning technologies department work with faculty to:
- Integrate good design principles and learning technologies in every subject area;
- Promote the construction of knowledge in our engineering, programming and computer science courses, research and project-based studies;
- Use technology to support active learning and creativity; and
- Provide students with cutting-edge technological tools and the skills to use them.
Our Engineering and Programming Curriculum
Engineering principles and the language of computer programming inform curriculum across all grade levels. Blake is one of the first schools in the country to offer all Lower School students the opportunity to learn programming, engineering and fabrication principles. For example:
- Kindergarten through fifth grade students learn programming environments like MIT's Scratch and Lego's WeDo;
- Older students in the Lower School use Lego's Mindstorms to design and command robots that walk, talk and respond to external stimuli;
- In science and co-curricular programs, Middle School students program and design solutions to vexing programs; and
- Upper School students can take computer science electives or participate in the FIRST robotics program.
A Technology-Infused Curriculum
In every division, the curriculum infuses technological savvy and sound design principles. For example:
- Lower School students test theories of engineering and programming by inventing their own Lego Mindstorms amusement rides;
- Eighth graders produce mini-documentaries about social studies topics such as the Vietnam War;
- Upper School students taking Chemistry and Physics use an online program to quiz themselves. The customized program adjusts to students' responses, presenting ever more challenging questions.
Outside The Classroom
Using digital media to learn, communicate and create is second nature for today's students. Blake provides technological resources that support ongoing learning and creativity outside of the classroom.
OUR 1:1 LAPTOP PROGRAM
Blake offers a 1:1 laptop program, issuing school-owned MacBook Airs – complete with software to support the curriculum – to all Middle and Upper School students. The highly successful program:
- enhances opportunities to engage in creative expression;
- tailors instruction to individual needs;
- allows students to collaborate within a class and across schools;
- provides equitable access and assistive technologies;
- improves information literacy, media and digital literacy skills; and
- supplements textbook learning with interactive instructional programs.
TECHNOLOGY AND CREATIVITY
Students also use digital media and computer technologies for creative projects outside of the classroom. Fourth graders produce video news segments for Blake's YouTube program, “What's Cool in School." Older students manage lighting and sound systems for live productions, such as the senior assembly and theatre performances.
Students have access to state-of-the-art facilities, including
- Engineering, Programming and Fabrication Labs at the:
- Blake (Hopkins) campus for Lower School students
- Highcroft (Wayzata) campus for Lower and Middle School students
- The Ankeny Center for Science, Design, & Research at the Northrop (Minneapolis) campus for Upper School students
Reinforcing Core Values
Technology and design at Blake reflect our core values of empathy, problem-solving and community service. Students work to use technology to improve people's lives. For example:
- Lower School girls in the TechTank after-school program complete projects that benefit others, such as collecting, sterilizing and packaging used Legos in kits distributed to the Light of Hope orphanage in Kenya.
- The Middle School Robotics Team participates in the FIRST LEGO League competition, building and programming robots to solve real-world problems.
- Each year, Upper School students taking Environmental Science test the waters of Spring Lake, a nearby body of water that is severely impaired. Students work with the Minneapolis Park Board and the Lowry Hill Neighborhood Association to help clean up the surrounding park area.
Global Online Academy
Blake is part of the Global Online Academy, a consortium of schools that connects students and teachers worldwide. Courses offered include Digital Journalism, Bioethics and International Macroeconomics – to name just a few.