STEAM Legacy High School, located in the Los Angeles Unified School District, is committed to equipping all their students with the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in the future. In an exclusive interview with ELB, the school’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) engineering teacher, Mario lbarra, shares how the Prowise solution has enhanced STEAM teaching and learning. After receiving a grant in 2016, STEAM Legacy purchased and implemented eight Prowise Entry Line 65” panels on mobile lifts in his Engineering Lab.
In May 2018, Mario and his students returned to California victorious after winning first place in the automotive design and fuel efficiency category at the H2AC World Competition in Chemnitz, Germany. This competition, “H2AC”, the Hydrogen Horizons Automotive Challenge, drives students to explore renewable energy sources using math, science, technology, and engineering. Due to his success, it is evident that Mario has a great passion for teaching and was eager to share how Prowise interactive technology has helped enhance STEAM learning inside of his classroom.
ELB: “Thank you for taking the time to speak with us. To start, how many years have you been teaching?”
Mario: “I have been teaching for 12 years in the district and was part of the opening team at STEAM Legacy high school six years ago.”
ELB: “What is your favorite part of teaching?”
Mario: “I love the interaction I have with my students. It’s rewarding to see how my students build confidence over time. I love when they say, “look what I have done!” By using 3-D printing and design, student realize that there is no limit to what they can do or create. We used to say that the sky was the limit, but now we can reach beyond.”
ELB: "What inspires you and your teaching?"
Mario: "Most of all, God is my greatest inspiration since I believe He is the creator of everything. I am inspired by the great support I have from my wife, Bertha Ibarra and the support from my principal Ms. Barrera Ortiz. I’m inspired by the fun that I can have with my students as they learn. I enjoy tapping into their brains, never allowing them to settle for mediocre work, watching them develop, inspiring them to grow, and showing them that there is so much more out there. I always remind my students that they can make a name for themselves and make a difference. It’s inspiring to know that I can push them to say “you can too.”
ELB: "Have you previously used technology in your classroom?"
Mario: “Yes, we previously used interactive whiteboards as well as basic computers and laptops. However, we found that they offered limited teacher collaboration and student engagement.”
ELB: "How is the Prowise solution being used in your classroom now? And how has it helped overcome previous challenges you were experiencing with prior technology?"
Mario: “We have teams of 2-5 students create engineering designs on the Prowise panel. It’s amazing how the panel can instantly transform into or create a new workspace within our classroom, where students can productively collaborate. With Prowise Presenter software, multiple students are able to utilize and write on the panel at the same time. They can save their lessons or designs in the Cloud, so they can revisit their work the next day if needed. It’s very convenient and user-friendly. We also use other interactive software applications such as Rivet, Autodesk and Microsoft, to collect data. The Prowise panel is adaptable to all educational applications. Students use the panel for research and even attach their 3-D printers to create innovative designs. My students required a new way to be inspired and we found it! They are overstimulated by their phones and we needed something to bridge the gap from laptops to see their designs on a larger scale. Prowise was the perfect solution.”
ELB: “How has the Prowise solution improved teaching and learning?”
Mario: “Students are more engaged than ever before! It allows them to work in a group setting and use the integrated computer for a point of reference. Students can easily transition between independent study to collaborative work.”
ELB: "How has the staff and student body responded?"
Mario: “After the Prowise panels were integrated into the school, everyone wanted a panel in their classrooms, and they were impressed by all of the ways students could learn with the technology. The panel was able to bring greater flexibility into all our learning spaces.”
ELB: "What has been your favorite part of using the Prowise solution?"
Mario: “The Prowise solution is great because it’s very hands on and utilizes applications which allow students to design and create in a collaborative way! The Prowise solution has proven to be an outstanding tool for both students and teachers.”
ELB: Thank you for your time, Mario. You’re teaching is inspiring to us all and we can’t wait to continue working with you and your students on your flexible learning journey!