By Michael Gresham
The Texas Catholic
A new SmartLab at St. Pius X Catholic School offers more than just state-of-the-art technology to students. It also helps provide lifelong learning skills that will benefit students beyond the walls of the east Dallas school.
“The state-of-the-art opportunities the SmartLab offers are crucial for preparing our students for the challenges of the modern world,” said Rob Rogers, St. Pius X principal. “In today’s rapidly evolving technological landscape, providing access to cutting-edge tools and resources is essential for cultivating a competitive skill set. St. Pius X Catholic School students will engage in multilayered problem-solving tests that will grow more complex as the students grow and learn.”
Rogers joined Father Salvador Guzmán, pastor of St. Pius X Catholic Church, in unveiling the new SmartLab during an open house event at the school on Nov. 12.
Rogers called the SmartLab “a tremendous asset that significantly benefits students at St. Pius X by providing an innovative and hands-on learning environment, fostering a deeper understanding of concepts of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).
“The interactive nature of the SmartLab allows St. Pius X School students to learn how to problem-solve using the latest software and technology, hands-on physical kits and equipment that use logical skill-based progressions,” he explained. “Our students will not be stuck behind a laptop but instead placed in groups that allow them to learn the skills and competencies that will require expanding communication skills and group dynamic proficiency.”
According to Rogers, the SmartLab equips students with technical proficiency and instills a passion for learning and exploration, laying the foundation for future success in various fields. Key features of the new SmartLab include cutting-edge technology, including the latest technological tools and software; multidisciplinary learning from robotics and coding to multimedia production and graphic design; and a collaborative space to encourage teamwork, promoting communications and problem-solving skills.
“Specifically, our students will explore mechanical engineering and computer science in the Robotics and Control Technology module,” Rogers explained. “They will learn design and building knowledge in the Mechanics and Structures module. Our students will receive training in collecting and interpreting data through intentional experimentation in the Scientific Data and Analysis course. Students will build upon skills in software engineering, communication and media, circuitry, and manufacturing technology.”
The SmartLab was made possible through funding provided by the GEER Assistance to Private Schools (GAPS) Grant Program, which assists schools in continuing instruction, addressing learning loss, promoting safety, and supporting educational technology impacted by COVID-19-related activities.
“Overall, the SmartLab has enhanced our school’s ability to provide a well-rounded education that prepares students both academically, socially, and technologically,” Rogers said. “The gratitude from the school community underscores the importance of continually seeking and implementing innovative educational initiatives to benefit our students’ future success.”