6 local schools featured in technology showcase

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David Nelems Submitted

A retrofit for a school bus that will enable buses to collect solar power and sell it back to a power company. Art created by using a welding simulator. Robotics, 3-D puzzles and site-surveying drones.

Sound like the latest episode of “Shark Tank”? It’s actually just a sample of the work and innovation happening right now at schools throughout the Lowcountry. On Thursday, the community will have a hands-on opportunity to see some of the ways that technology is being used in classrooms today — and how technology is shaping the next generation of innovators.

To celebrate innovation in local schools and showcase some of the technology being used by teachers and students in elementary school through high school, the Don Ryan Center for Innovation has created Tech Fest. The event, which is free and open to the public, will bring together students from six area schools, giving them the opportunity to show the community some of the ways they are using technology.

“So many parents and grandparents today lament about kids and technology, complaining that kids are always attached to their iPhones, iPads and computers,” said David Nelems, executive director of the Don Ryan Center for Innovation. “However, there’s an incredibly positive side to students and their love of technology that we wanted to highlight and celebrate.”

Tech Fest will be from 5 to 7 p.m. outdoors at the Don Ryan Center for Innovation’s temporary headquarters in Buckwalter Place, next to the Bluffton Police Department. Food trucks will be nearby.

May River High School is one of the schools participating. Principal Todd Bornscheuer said his school stresses the impact of technology on today’s students.

“Although we know the technology will change, access to technology and curriculum across the board is preparing students to think, to adapt and to have the skills to integrate the next generation of technology,” Bornscheuer said. “Without access to today’s technology, we fall woefully short of that goal.”

Other schools participating are Bluffton Elementary, McCracken Middle School, Cross Schools, River Ridge Academy and Bluffton High School. Future events could include more schools.

Also featured will be graduates of the innovation center’s incubator program, giving people the opportunity to network with some of the region’s innovators. For more information, visit donryancenter.com or call 843-540-0405.