BLACKSBURG, Va., Nov. 9, 2011 – A cutting-edge space that includes computers, beakers, machine shop saws, and electronic probes is bringing multidisciplinary team members together in one area as an important step in education and research for all ages.
To usher in this innovative facility, Virginia Secretary of Education Laura Fornash and Virginia Tech President Charles W. Steger will join the public to tour the STEM Education Collaboratory at the University Open House on Saturday, Nov. 12.
The collaboratory emerged through a $1.2 million renovation with the goal of providing room and equipment designed for interdisciplinary outreach, professional development, and instruction, especially in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, known as STEM education.
“The STEM Education Collaboratory is a state-of-the-art facility,” said Sue Magliaro, director of the School of Education. “The technology, facilities, and flexible space provide the type of comprehensive learning environment that can accommodate pre-kindergarten to 12th grade students and teachers, as well as university students and faculty, who are actually in the lab or via distance education using videoconferencing and other electronic communication channels.”
In the collaborator, which is located in Seitz Hall 112, remote collaboration is made possible through Polycom video conferencing and Adobe Connect Web conferencing technologies. Other digital media tools include Mac and PC instructor stations, ELMO document camera, two SMART boards, a 3-D printer, 24 laptops, and 10 desktop computers for student use. Science and technology tools include various probes and base stations, electronics kits, LEGO kits, insect nets, a centrifuge, electronic stirrers, hot plates, and glassware in various sizes.
The adjacent prototyping room is a large shop area that includes various saws (table, band, and scroll), a drill press, planer, sanders, grinders, and various manual and power hand tools.
STEM education in Virginia Tech’s School of Education in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences includes graduate programs with rich traditions in teacher education, scientific research, and preparing people for teaching or research careers related to science, technology, engineering or math. In addition, the School of Education now offers a unique graduate program that focuses upon the integration of the STEM education disciplines. STEM education faculty work individually and collaboratively with fellow educators and colleagues to prepare the next generation of teachers, leaders, researchers, and scholars versed in these important disciplines.
Steger will speak at 11 a.m. to celebrate the opening of the facility. Open house participants will have the opportunity to tour the collaboratory, engage in interactive activities, and see a robotics demonstration.
The Virginia Tech Office of the Provost, the Office of International Research, Education, and Development, the School of Education, and the contributions of individual donors funded this project.