Grousbeck Center for Students and Technology
Corinne Grousbeck said her initial plan for the Grousbeck Center for Students and Technology was to bring Perkins students into the “vernacular” of today’s culture, so heavily entrenched in technology. Read how she turned this idea into a 17,000-square-foot reality.
Steve Landau, the architect at Touch Graphics whose team developed Perkins' Talking Campus Model, says good design relies on getting into the head of the user.
There are many ways to interact with the Talking Model. The Model’s surface is pressure-sensitive, and when you touch different locations, you hear names and descriptions of each place.
The walls are mostly flat, for example, but now and then one is interrupted by a richly modeled panel. You can say to someone, “Meet me at the Bubble Wall,’’ or the “Wave Wall,’’ and then connect by touch.
“The technology built into the GCST was only imagined a few decades ago,” said Perkins President Steven Rothstein. “We’ve gone from chalkboards to SMART Boards and from talking books on tape to iPad audio readers in one fantastic leap."
Parents convened in the GCST with three experts who, through each of their presentations that filled the flexible spaces, showed parents how technology could aid in their children’s education.
Perkins School for the Blind has a history of finding resourceful ways of educating its students. Inspired by the tactile construction board, which Shawmut presented as samples of building materials on a timeline of the processs during last year’s Lower School construction, the Grousbeck mockup took that idea one step further.
Sometimes the low and high tech solutions being used at Perkins present international educators with strategies they hadn't considered. Assistive devices are innovative teaching aids that they can adapt by using the materials they have at home to accomplish the same goal.
At Perkins School for the Blind, the use of a simple tool – the shovel – launched the construction of a 17,000 square foot social and teaching center employing the most sophisticated high-tech tools available to people who are visually impaired.