HSIS EAST Class Focuses on Leadership Skills

HSIS EAST Class Focuses on Leadership Skills
Posted on 02/19/2019
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HSSD is proudly one of the few districts in Arkansas to offer EAST classes to elementary students, exposing them to cutting edge technology, self-directed learning, and leadership skills at a young age. Two projects for 5th-6th grade students in the Intermediate School EAST class with Mrs. Rakejah Wells-Williams are particularly memorable efforts to collaborate with community partners and solve real world problems. One group has created a child safety watch that alerts children and parents when a child is too far away from supervision; another is building a virtual reality game that creates interest in environmental responsibility by creating challenges out of trash pick-up.

“EAST classes are so valuable because we are providing students with a two-in-one leadership and technology class,” says Mrs. Wells-Williams. “Students in EAST are put in charge of their own projects, and they thrive with that control. They are learning leadership skills, collaborative skills, and are being exposed to skills and knowledge about cutting-edge technology that adults can barely keep up with. This class in every way is preparing them for the workforce, and I love knowing this option is out there for our kids.”

Students working on the Child Safety Watch Project are collaborating with community partners at the Hot Springs Police Department and the National Park College Innovative Technologies Center. Students are designing a watch that could be programmed to alert the child wearing the watch and parents with an app connected to the watch with a loud reminder message when a child gets too far from supervision. Additionally, the watch would have GPS tracking to provide quick reference for parents and officials if a child is kidnapped. National Park College ITC is helping the group use Arduino (an open-sourced electronics platform) to code and build the watch and technology.

Another group is using special software to design an interactive game about making environmentally responsible steps to clean up our streets, namely through trash pickup. The virtual reality game is being built through Unreal Engine software to make it as lifelike as possible. The students have reached out to the game developer company Schell Games in efforts to get help with designing and testing of the software and system.

HSIS EAST, alongside all HSSD EAST classes at our Gardner STEM Magnet School, Hot Springs Junior Academy, and Hot Springs World Class High School will attend the upcoming EAST Conference at the Hot Springs Convention Center March 12-14.

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