Grant provides library with interactive learning


Neighbors | Alexis Bartolomucci.Two of the Oh Wow! interns interacted with the different activities. They were on hand to evaluate how students with disabilities interact with the experiments and how Oh Wow! can improve the experience.


Neighbors | Alexis Bartolomucci.There was a demonstration to show how to fly the remote-controlled drone inside of the netted area during the opening of the Interactive Center at the Main library on Jan. 6.


Neighbors | Alexis Bartolomucci.Oh Wow! Director Suzanne Barbati watched as one of the participants stepped on the floor piano to make hands-free music.


Neighbors | Alexis Bartolomucci.Libary director Heidi Daniel played with the Makey. The Makey uses water as controls to play video games instead of a controler or joystick.


The Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County opened its new interactive learning space on Jan. 6 in partnership with the OH WOW! The Roger and Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science and Technology, thanks to a Sparks! Ignition Grant of more than $20,000.

The Main library has been working with OH WOW! for many years to provide learning opportunities for children and their families. The new interactive learning space is targeted toward children in kindergarten through eighth-grade. All of the activities in the learning space are designed to fit the children’s different skill sets.

Several different activities were set up in the space to encourage the participants to engage in hands-on learning experiences, including a drone that could be flown with a remote control, a Super Mario game that you controlled by placing your fingers in water instead of using a controller, earthquakes in a can and various other activities.

“We really wanted to look at how we can take our partnership to the next level and pair learning opportunities between the two spaces,” said Heidi Daniel, the executive director of the Youngstown and Mahoning County libraries.

The activities are set up to have learning objectives for the children to meet that will compliment what they are learning and doing at OH WOW! The children also have the opportunity to earn badges while experimenting with the different activities at the library and at OH WOW!

“The library selected their components based on the exhibits at OH WOW!,” said Suzanne Barbati, the OH WOW! director.

The grant gives the library the opportunity to evaluate the children’s progress and see that the partnership is working and leading to learning outcomes for the participants.

“We are really excited to be able to be doing this together and to be able to offer two cool, unique learning spaces for kids downtown,” said Daniel.

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