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Next Generation Learning Verizon Innovative Learning Lab unveiled at Rhodes Middle School

On Feb. 21, 2020, teachers, students and administration gathered together at the Rhodes Middle School to celebrate the transformation of the school's library into a Verizon Innovative Learning Lab, featuring brand new emerging-technology equipment.

The day kicked off with a presentation and ribbon cutting with members of the Verizon team and San Antonio ISD administration.

"This new lab is going to open so many doors for our students. This type of technology is going to change our school."

Ricky Flores, Rhodes MS principal

Thanks to the Verizon Innovative Learning program, Rhodes students now have access to interactive learning opportunities including high-tech tools such as augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), coding and circuits, 3D printing, and artificial intelligence (AI).

Rhodes students had the chance to try out the latest and greatest in virtual reality (VR) wearable technology. Verizon representatives demonstrated new maker technology to the Rhodes staff. Groups of students took on a variety of challenges, including a coding and circuits session. The new lab has three Ultimaker 3 machines, which can 3D print complex geometries from water soluble materials.

The rollout of the lab and resources is expected to contribute to academic achievement, especially in critical STEM areas.

Students use their creativity and inquiry skills as they work with Lego Mindstorm kits.

Many of the projects featured in the new lab help enhance students' math and science skills as well as their critical thinking.

This is the second time Rhodes Middle School has been the beneficiary of a Verizon grant. Rhodes is one of four SAISD middle schools that were named Verizon Innovative Learning Schools in 2018 to help bridge the digital divide. Through that program, the students and teachers received 1:1 tablet devices and two-year Verizon Wireless 4G LTE data plans, for 24/7 internet access – both in the classroom and at home.