WCHS Article from January 20, 2020
By LAUREN TALOTTA
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WCHS/WVAH) — Dream. Learn. Innovate. Create.
Those are the cornerstones of a brand new innovation center in the West Side of Charleston created by Bible Center Church. It’s helping people of all ages, but those behind the initiative are starting with educating the youngest of minds.
For 5th grade students at Mary C. Snow Elementary, science class just became an out-of-body experience.
“The heart. I got to see inside of it. It was really cool,” said student Rahjai Bowlin.
“It’s all 3-D. It’s pretty cool. You can take things out of the screen,” said student Mason Hall.
Z-Space is an augmented reality program that only a handful of students here in West Virginia have experienced.
“I read an article in the paper about a year ago that talked about Mary C. Snow and the test scores, and the things they don’t get exposed to, the kids that are five miles away at Kenna and the difference. So we wanted to do something for the children at Mary C. Snow to have technology,” said Michelle Thompson of Bible Center Church.
It’s an educational opportunity made possible by Bible Center Church, its partners, and its innovation zone: The Maker’s Center.
“Our church has been very generous. Our congregation has given a lot toward the Maker’s Center. The owner of the building has given us free rent for 10 years,” Thompson said.
Additionally, the church received grant money from the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation to create the center. Inside, you’ll find art studios, a wood shop, and of course, a technology lab.
“They were sitting here with stars in their eyes, seeing kids grab things on the screen…” said teacher Leigh Poindexter.
“You got to feel the pin, and it let you know how fast your heartbeat would go. It was really cool. I actually like it. Then we did leaves, I got to see a butterfly,” Bowlin said.
“You can interact with them, move them…take them apart,” Hall said.
On the morning we visited the Maker’s Center, students were just learning how to use the Z-Space technology but will visit once a week.
“When we come back, we’ll be using our science standards, so they’ll be going into the stratosphere of the earth, the ozone layer…all kinds of different things,” Poindexter said. “The jobs they’ll be doing in 10, 20 years probably haven’t been created yet. Any experience they can get with technology is nothing but great for their future.”
The Maker’s Center will officially open later this year and plans to offer a variety of life-skills and other courses to people of all ages.