Longwood University’s Institute for Teaching through Technology and Innovative Practices (ITTIP) recently hosted the Fifth Annual STEM Summit on February 14, 2012. The theme of the summit, Formal and Informal STEM Learning with Mobile Devices, focused on integrating mobile learning devices into the 21st century classroom.
Dr. Ken Perkins, Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs, welcomed approximately 75 K-12 teachers and administrators who attended the event. Throughout the day, a variety of speakers addressed STEM learning with mobile devices. Dr. Frederic Bertley, Vice President of Science and Innovation at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, communicated the importance of providing STEM role models for children. He also shared with the audience the many programs the Franklin Institute has developed to promote science and technology.
Radford University professor Dr. Matt Dunleavy presented “Mobile Augmented Reality for Teaching and Learning.” Dunleavy provided examples of how to use augmented reality with students in various learning settings, including outdoor scavenger hunts and environmental monitoring. He emphasized how augmented reality through computer-generated imagery in live-video streams can enhance the perception of the real world and provide students with an engaging learning experience.
John Hendron, webmaster and supervisor of instructional technology for Goochland County Public Schools, demonstrated how to make a series of simple drawings using Logo Draw for iPad. Students can learn the basics of how to program, how to type, and the elementary basics of geometry while having fun drawing using this app. In addition to Logo Draw, Hendron also introduced several free and low-cost apps for the iPad that can foster student excitement in learning and applying various science and mathematics concepts. Another app for use on the iPad, Math Flyer, was presented by Patricia Jacobs and Jennifer Houchins from the Shodor Foundation. Math Flyer is an app that is targeted for older students and focused on using algebraic expressions and functions.
Stephanie Playton, ITTIP instructional design specialist, explained how she used the Smartphone with elementary students on a field trip to the zoo. Students used the phones to document their trip with pictures and text.
Dr. Kevin Kochersberger, research associate professor at Virginia Tech, presented “Smartphone Robotics: Concepts for the Wireless Generation.” Kochersberger presented the Smartphone as a new reality for the robotic generation. The Smartphone, as a flight controller, can be programmed to take sensory input with different applications. The real benefit of the Smartphone is the programming and simulation can be performed everywhere. Bill Wilson, senior technology engineer for SVRTC/ITTIP, demonstrated how a Smartphone app can operate a LEGO Mindstorm robot. Kochersberger inspired the audience with the “Strandbeast” which are creatures made from pvc pipe and powered by wind. The inventor of the Strandbeast is the Dutch artist, Theo Jansen.
Virginia Tech professors Dr. Brenda Brand and Dr. Mary Kasarda presented “Unpacking STEM” in which they shared their concerns about too few U.S. workers with strong backgrounds in STEM. In order to better prepare the workforce, they have created a partnership with the Montgomery County Schools FIRST Robotics high-school team and Virginia Tech. The students work with college engineering students to achieve a higher level of STEM learning.