KENNESAW, Ga. | Apr 27, 2018
Bagwell College rolls out mobile classroom
It’s hard to miss the newest addition to Kennesaw State’s Bagwell College of Education. The colorful 30-foot bus is a mobile classroom and laboratory that provides access to technology and other educational activities directly to K-12 students.
The bus is set to travel to local schools, offering students a wide range of learning opportunities in science, technology and other disciplines. The Bagwell College unveiled its iTeach MakerBus on Wednesday to the campus community and representatives from several school districts.
“This is one of the most exciting days we have had here in a long, long time,” Bagwell College of Education Dean Arlinda Eaton said. “When we thought about the impact the iTeach MakerBus could have on the larger community, we were sold on the idea. We saw that it would be a wise investment.”
The MakerBus is an initiative of the Bagwell College’s iTeach unit, which provides consulting services and professional development training to classroom teachers. The 62-person iTeach team works with local school districts including Cobb, Fulton and Henry counties, as well as schools in Alabama, South Carolina and Maryland.
The bus includes a laser cutter, 3D printer, a drone, circuit kits and Wi-Fi, and its contents can be changed to accommodate different grade levels. Students are able to engage in hands-on activities such as building a robot from a kit or using modeling clay to create a stop-motion movie. Along with a commitment to the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects, the MakerBus is utilized to teach reading, writing and history lessons.
“In the new teaching and learning reality, we expect to create as much as we consume – to make our own path and contribute to our world in a positive way,” said iTeach Director Stephanee Stephens. “To be able to take our engaging, interactive MakerBus to learners is just the next step in our collective efforts to make 'best in class' learning opportunities available to every student.”
The mobile classroom and lab is part of the Bagwell College’s commitment to the Maker Movement, an approach to education that emphasizes hands-on, often collaborative, learning experiences to solve problems. In 2016, the iTeach unit began hosting a week-long MakerCamp on the Kennesaw Campus for K-8 students. Stephens then proposed the MakerBus, which was purchased with funding from the Bagwell College of Education.
“It’s very exciting that we’re ready to serve children with the bus,” said Leigh Martin, an education technology specialist in the Bagwell College and the project lead for the iTeach MakerBus. “This initiative is an inspiration to me. When you provide children with the things they need, the space to use them and the inspiration to get started, they see that they can learn anywhere.”
The bus will make its first three school trips in May, and several schools already are booked for this fall, Martin said. A $6,000 contribution from the Cobb EMC Community Foundation is supporting the initial campus visits, and iTeach is pursuing additional sponsors to help fund bus trips and add new technology to the mobile classroom.
“This isn’t a technology initiative. It’s a learning revolution,” Stephens said. “The world is ready for a new type of learner and leader, and iTeach is ready to help make the future a reality.”
For schools interested in a visit from the iTeach MakerBus, email MakerBus@KSUiTeach.org or click here for more information.
— Paul Floeckher
Photos by Lauren Kress
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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 43,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.