Utah Valley University joins partnership to help area teachers and students

Utah Valley University’s School of Education is partnering with Carnegie Mellon University’s Community, Robotics, Education and Technology Empowerment (CREATE) Lab to provide hands-on technology learning experiences for their teacher candidates, local classroom teachers, and Utah’s K-12 students.

The partnership is in collaboration with the Utah STEM Action Center and is especially relevant to UVU as an institution situated near the “Silicon Slopes,” a rapidly growing center for companies focused on technology and innovation.

On Feb. 3 and 4, UVU’s School of Education hosted a “trainer of trainers” session for UVU faculty and teachers and district specialists from three partner school districts — Alpine, Provo, and Nebo — as well as CREATE satellite partners at SUU and Iron County School District. These participants will in turn help facilitate the training of educators in their institutions and teachers in the partner school districts in how to use the CREATE lab materials and implement the projects with their K-12 students.

The CREATE Lab projects align with UVU’s School of Education commitment to support and advance 21st century and STEM education. Through these projects, the School of Education will address the growing need for members of the local educational community of all ages to learn and apply skills in programming, data analytics and robotics in real life contexts.

“SOE has also chosen to participate in the CREATE Lab collaboration to support its strategic interest around 21st century learning which provides a focus on STEM,” said Parker Fawson, dean of the School of Education. “The CREATE Lab experiences provide hands-on learning that goes well beyond completion of tasks, and leads to deeper understanding of STEM as an integrated and creative learning process.”

The combination of innovative, hands-on technology programs and local community involvement is designed to empower Utah educators and their students to create and innovate technologies developed by CREATE Lab initially through four projects implemented at UVU:

  • Arts & Bots,” a highly versatile set of robot building components which enables students and teachers to design and program with robotics in a wide range of academic subjects.
  • Giga Pan,” which uses gigapixel resolution hardware and software technology to capture digital images and allows their curriculum integration to explore nature as well as local and global communities through observation and analysis.
  • Finch Robots,” which engages learners of all ages in programming in various languages as appropriate to operate the Finch robot.
  • Message from Me,” a project which allows children as young as preschool to use technology to communicate with their families.

The interest in these projects was driven by the ongoing need for educator preparation and professional development to include innovative ideas and tools of technology as inspiration for teaching that fosters engaged learning and creativity.

“Teachers will be increasingly required to possess deeper knowledge of STEM integration and how it supports 21st century learning and innovation,” Fawson said. “The CREATE Lab experiences will help teachers better understand how this type of teaching and learning increases their students’ creativity and applications of STEM.”

With support from a grant from the Infosys Foundation USA, the CREATE Lab has recently established two Utah-based satellites, one at UVU and the other at Southern Utah University, as well as one Atlanta-based satellite at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Fourth region (Section 1)