Louisiana Tech University’s Science and Technology Education Center (SciTEC) recently partnered with CenturyLink and Celeno to bring technology to the classroom in innovative and efficient ways.
SciTEC is the College of Education’s active outreach program that serves surrounding school systems and communities, helping them improve math and science teaching practices. The Louisiana Department of Education has set a goal to have one computer for every two students in each public pre-k through 12th grade classroom by the end of 2020.
By the end of the 2021 academic year, the department aims to have a computer available for each student across the state.The increasing demand for more technology in the classroom poses challenges for many districts:
- Hardware maintenance
- Software licensing
- Power consumption
Many school districts do not have adequate funds to update technology and licensing, or to cover increased costs for electricity. Limited funding leads to challenges with children having access to modern educational opportunities.
“The College of Education plays a strategic role in this collaborative effort to engage students in cost-effective 21st-century learning environments that enhance critical thinking through the application of technology,” said Dr. Don Schillinger, College of Education Dean.
The collaboration between SciTEC, CenturyLink, and Celeno is focused on bringing technology like the RaspberryPi, a small, affordable computer that can be used to learn programming, to more classrooms. In addition, the partners will continue to work together to provide students with access to educational technology.
“CenturyLink cares deeply about young students and ensuring a bright future for them,” said Ron Lewis, director of CenturyLink’s Disruptive Innovation Division. “We are working hand in hand with our education partners to help build and implement classroom technology that not only prepares students for the workplace of the future but also immerses them in an environment where they can begin building tomorrow’s technology today.”
The partners donated critical components of the infrastructure as well as licenses for the environment in the Doug and Sandra Boulware SciTEC Learning Lab at Louisiana Tech. Joe Crowder, Director of Business Development at Celeno and his team worked with Lewis to equip the space with technology designed to increase collaboration in classrooms.
“We are proud to take part in the ‘Classroom in a Box’ project together with CenturyLink and offer our innovative Wi-Fi solutions for the challenging classroom environment,” said Ronen Peleg, VP Sales and Business Development at Celeno. “Now multiple students will be able to consume content simultaneously and seamlessly in their classrooms.”
Partnerships are integral to ensuring that solutions reach the market and benefit students who need technology to move forward, according to Dr. Davy Norris, Louisiana Tech’s Chief Research and Innovation Officer. “Entrepreneurial universities and innovative companies working together like this can bring technology solutions to market in ways that have tremendous impacts on people and communities.”
Industry partners also work with Tech faculty and staff to ensure guidelines are met and installations are seamless. For instance, Dr. Jean Gourd of the College of Engineering and Sciences and SciTEC’s Diane Madden worked with CenturyLink and student Fatima Hussein to create the computing environment and install the equipment.
Development of instructional materials and delivery of professional development for interested teachers and school partners will begin in 2019.