Developing a SMART Innovation Lab

A SMART Consulting Story with Dr. Tricia Patterson, Principal of Marietta Center for Advanced Academics

Teachers and School

Marietta Center for Advanced Academics
Marietta, Georgia
Dr. Tricia Patterson, Principal


To create a collaborative environment that would enrich learning for all stakeholders.

SMART Solution

SMART Board® 7000 series
SMART Board® 6000 series
SMART Board® 2000 series
SMART Audio™ System
SMART Learning Suite


Engaging students in high-level critical thinking skills through a collaborative and creative learning environment.

“The best thing [about the Innovation Lab] is the variety of activities available. Even the seating has variety! The room is always inspiring and fun.”
- Myra, 3rd Grade MCAA Student


Marietta Center for Advanced Academics (MCAA) is a unique elementary (grades 3-5, ages 9-12) magnet school in the Marietta City School District. Its students experience an accelerated curriculum that emphasizes science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in a one-to-one computing environment. Its program emphasizes building the problem solvers of tomorrow while using engineering concepts such as the common thread, throughout all subjects. Students learn through an interdisciplinary approach in aproject-based learning environment.

MCAA is a 2017 AdvancED STEM Certified School and has achieved Georgia Department of Education Highest-Performing Reward School Platinum Status multiple times. In keeping with their mission statement, MCAA sought to create an innovation lab using hardware and software technology solutions in order to effectively equip and inspire 21st-century students to meet the challenges of a global society through innovation, collaboration, critical and creative thinking.

InnovationLab Goals

Create a student-centered learning space
Enable whole-group and small-group work environments
Provide accessible workspaces and creative centers


MCAA partners with technology leaders that can support and accommodate each individualstudents’ learning style and expand their critical and creative thinking skills. Because MCAA sees SMART as a trailblazer in technology innovation, they chose to collaborate together on their Innovation Lab.

“As professionals that understand the goals and expectations of educators, SMART Technologies emphasizes building lasting relationships with teachers, so we work smarter, not harder,” says Amy Crandall, media specialist and technology coach.

SMART Innovation Lab:

The SMART Innovation Lab at MCAA incorporates multiple SMART Board® interactive displays, SMART Audio, and creative design with flexible seating and spaces for student interaction and collaboration. Through a joint planning process, the SMART Innovation Lab brings together modular furniture design and purposeful interactive spaces to enhance instructional experiences that are student-centered and inspirational.


At the SMART Innovation Lab at MCAA, on any given day, educators will see numerous examples of scholars in creative andcritical thinking activities. For example, student scholars work on compassion projects that are problem based and solution focused. They are also able to adopt a growth mindset and exhibit their collaborative efforts through a process that involves student voice and choice.

Educators can also expand on ideas they are teaching in the classroom. This process allows for deeper thinking within content areas, and authentic connections to instruction in the form of real-world, problem-based activities. Moving forward, student scholars will showcase what they are learning in the form of Innovation Lab exhibits. Additionally, MCAA looks forward to sharing the accomplishments they learn with other educators by hosting SMART Innovation workshops.

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Posted: January 21, 2019
in Outcome Studies