Learning to Enjoy the Struggle with Pamela Whitlock

In this week’s Let’s Talk CS, we meet with Pam Whitlock, the IT Department Chair at that amazing Innovation Academy in Alpharetta, GA. Listen as she details the ins and outs of her unique project-based school that really emphasizes choice and productive struggle as part of the learning process.

Learning to Enjoy the Struggle with Pamela Whitlock


Welcome to Let’s Talk Computer Science! Today, we have the honor of sharing the remarkable journey of Pamela Whitlock, an education trailblazer at the Innovation Academy in Georgia. Join us as we delve into the transformative power of project-based learning, the integration of emerging technologies, and the cultivation of lifelong learners. Whether you’re a parent seeking to expand your child’s educational horizons or an educator passionate about shaping the future, this article will provide valuable insights and inspiration.

Unveiling the Innovation Academy: Pioneers of Educational Excellence

Enter the Innovation Academy, a beacon of educational excellence nestled in the vibrant community of Fulton County Schools, Atlanta. This STEM magnet school, currently in its second year, is revolutionizing education by providing students from across the district with an opportunity to explore career tech pathways and cultivate STEM skills. The academy’s dedication to innovation, real-world applications, and cross-curricular connections sets it apart as an educational powerhouse.

Igniting Passion through Project-Based Learning:

At the heart of the Innovation Academy lies a pedagogical approach that ignites passion and drives transformative learning—project-based learning (PBL). Pamela Whitlock, the IT Department Chair, emphasizes the academy’s commitment to cultivating problem-solving abilities, critical thinking, and design thinking skills. Through integrated courses that blend IT, engineering, and healthcare, students gain a foundation that allows them to solve complex problems and make informed decisions about their chosen career pathways.

Fridays: Empowering Students, Fostering Curiosity

Imagine a school where every Friday feels like an invigorating conference—a day dedicated to choice, exploration, and practical application. At the Innovation Academy, Fridays are designed to empower students, offering them a range of options that align with their interests and aspirations. From field trips and hands-on projects to engaging with industry partners and learning cutting-edge skills like GitHub and Python, these Fridays unlock the true potential of each student, fostering a deep love for learning and personal growth.

Preparing for a Technology-Driven Future:

As we embark on the cusp of a technological revolution, the Innovation Academy is at the forefront, preparing students for the dynamic world that awaits them. By embracing emerging technologies like AI, the academy sparks conversations about responsible usage, ethical considerations, and the power of AI to make a positive impact. Through these discussions and hands-on experiences, students gain a deep understanding of AI’s potential while developing critical skills such as collaboration, communication, and creative problem-solving.

Building Lifelong Learners: The Path to Success

At the core of the Innovation Academy’s mission is the cultivation of lifelong learners. Pamela Whitlock shares her inspiring journey, highlighting the transformative power of embracing new challenges and rediscovering the joy of learning. By fostering a growth mindset and encouraging resilience, the academy empowers students to navigate obstacles, see failure as an opportunity for growth, and persevere until they achieve success. These essential life skills, combined with technical competencies, provide a strong foundation for students as they venture into college, careers, and the ever-changing landscape of technology.

Connecting with the Innovation Academy:

To embark on a journey of educational transformation and explore the Innovation Academy’s offerings, visit their website at fultonschools.org/innovationacademy. Connect with Pamela Whitlock, an advocate for innovative education, on Twitter at @PamWhitlock1. Engage in conversations, share insights, and become part of a community dedicated to shaping the future of education.


The Innovation Academy stands as a shining example of educational innovation, transforming the lives of students and empowering them to embrace the opportunities of a technology-driven world. Through project-based learning, the integration of emerging technologies, and the development of lifelong learners, the academy cultivates a passion for knowledge and equips students with the skills to thrive. As parents and educators, let us join forces, embracing innovation, and inspiring the next generation to reach new heights of excellence. Together, we can revolutionize education and create a brighter future for all.

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