Friday, August 19:
Academy of Engineering
East Lake High School, Middle School
Peer exchange was the focus of this visit to East Lake High School (Grades 9-12) and Middle School (Grades 6-8) “Academy of Engineering” – a Pinellas County Schools Center of Excellence – where they interacted in classrooms with students and instructors in the fields of Applied Engineering, Games and Simulation, and Robotics and Artificial Intelligence. Each of these courses encompasses theory, practice and career training elements. Pinellas County Schools Assistant Administrator for Career, Technical and Adult Education Ronald Schnell welcomed the group, and opened a session with Kris Toscani, Assistant Principal for Engineering, who led a group discussion centered on how the Academy is structured for middle- and high school students, and asked the Tech Talent students to compare and contrast it with their system. He and his fellow administrators interacted intently with the Tech Talent team as they told their stories about their award-winning innovations and inventions.
Tech Talent visited three engineering classrooms, working on the same projects the students were engaged in. In the final classroom – robotics and artificial intelligence – the instructor moderated a dialogue between his students and the Tech Talent team on their work and inventions, and then had the students demonstrate their robotics projects, as well as an AI project using brainwaves to maneuver a drone. This instructor also expressed an interest in doing projects virtually between his classroom and Al Nayzak.
The group walked next door to the middle school Academy of Engineering, where the Principal escorted them to visit a classroom where students were applying the concepts of physics, chemistry, and nanotechnology to STEM activities and projects, in this instance designing and building desk organizers with Legos!