A refurbished and upgraded technology innovation lab funded by a $20,675 award from Cox Communications, Inc., was unveiled at the Mary Ellen & Robert McKee Branch of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale on Friday, Aug. 9.
The Cox Innovation Lab features new furniture, a fresh coat of paint, and technology upgrades including 10 high-speed laptops, a MacBook, 2 virtual reality headsets, Nintendo Labo, a 4K TV display, and a 3D printer making the space the first of its kind in Fountain Hills.
“At Cox we believe that life is better when we have more moments of real human connection. Not only does access to the Internet keep students connected to their teachers, but we know it is a vital tool for school work and STEM programs,” said Susan Anable, Southwest Region Vice President of Public Affairs, Cox Communications. “We know that this Innovation Lab will not only provide moments of fun, but with access to the Internet a world is opened to young minds.”
Located in the McKee Branch teen center, the lab will also be used for programming made available to younger Club members.
“With this new technology, any place can now become a learning environment,” said Robyn Julien, BGCS President & CEO. “By funding this lab, Cox provided our kids with opportunities to explore faraway places with virtual reality headsets, create robots, learn coding and programming, and create digital art. These are skills and experiences that will help our kids prepare for the jobs of tomorrow right here in our state.”
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Change the Equation, Inc. projects a growth of 23% in STEM jobs in Arizona through 2024 and ranked Arizona second in growth for computing jobs.
Virtual reality headsets along with 360-degree cameras will provide BGCS members the ability to explore other countries, play games, and create their own 360-degree images and videos. With Nintendo Labo, kids will be able to create interactive modules like steering wheels and robots. The 4K television display will be used to show demos while Club members work at their own station, view virtual reality images, and provide the greatest clarity possible for the Nintendo experience. With the 3D printer, kids will be exposed to coding and digital art creation.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale’s Mary Ellen & Robert McKee Branch serves 650 youth and teen members with before school and after school programming as well as summer day camp and sports leagues. The McKee Branch is located on North Del Cambre Avenue in Fountain Hills. To learn more about this Club, visit www.bgcs.org or call (480) 344-5400.