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Stories about...CITL

Thrasher Studies the Use of Low-Stress Virtual Reality to Improve Students’ French Oral Proficiency

October 11, 2019

Can virtual reality (VR) be used to decrease foreign language anxiety and increase students’ oral proficiency? French PhD student Tricia Thrasher thinks so. Consequently, students in French 205 were slated to employ VR in the Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning’s (CITL’s) Innovation Studio, providing the perfect opportunity for her to study the impact. According to Thrasher, who has a concentration in Second Language Acquisition and Teacher Education (SLATE), foreign language anxiety has been shown to negatively impact oral production skills. So, for her dissertation, she’s studying oral proficiency, specifically looking at how VR can be used to decrease foreign language anxiety, thus increasing oral production performance.

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The Next Best Thing to Being There—STEAM Studio Youngsters Explore the Amazon with the Help of CITL

October 3, 2019

Here’s the scenario. On their way home from a gecko conference, their plane crashed in the Amazon, where they had to survive in the unfamiliar, somewhat hostile environment and to figure out how to return home using GPS technology. This scenario was part of a 6–8 week unit about the Amazon Rain Forest that third graders in Next Generation School’s STEAM Studio after-school program did this fall. Activities included studying geckos and building tents for shelter. Plus, to enhance their experience, they visited CITL’s (Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning) Armory Innovation Spaces: Innovation Studio and TechHub. There, armed with VR goggles, they zoomed in on the Amazon using Google Earth, watched YouTube 360 videos to experience the rain forest, and even laser printed luggage tags. Immersed in such fun, creative, and high-tech activities to study the Amazon, what student couldn’t help but learn?

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MakerGirl Seeks to Expand the STEM Pipeline by Getting Middle School Girls Interested in STEM

November 2, 2018

Excited about having some pre-Halloween fun with STEM, six local middle-school girls showed up at the Armory’s Innovation Lab on Tuesday, October 30th, for MakerGirl. During the two-hour session, the 7–10-year-old girls learned how to use Tinker-CAD, a computer-aided-design application for kids, discovered how 3D printers work, then 3D printed Halloween-related designs they’d made. Plus, currently all the rage and completely apropos for Halloween, they made some ooey-gooey slime.

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STEAM Studio Uses Science, Technology, and Art to Go “Virtually Spelunking” in Caves—Exploring Everything From Spiders to Bats to 3D Cave Painting to GPS

November 16, 2017

It all started with a unit on insects. Then, not to overlook them, spiders were given equal coverage. Then one thing led to another, until recently, STEAM Studio, Next Generation School’s after-school program which incorporates art into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, ART, and Mathematics), just finished doing an entire unit on caves which incorporated everything from identifying types of caves and how they’re formed, to sonar (how bats navigate through caves), to 3D cave painting, to exploring the world's caves through both GPS and virtual tours, and more.

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Mashruba Haque shows a young MakerGirl visitor the 3D printers.MakerGirl Seeks to Expand the STEM Pipeline by Getting Middle School Girls Interested in STEM

November 2, 2018

Excited about having some pre-Halloween fun with STEM, six local middle-school girls showed up at the Armory’s Innovation Lab on Tuesday, October 30th, for MakerGirl. During the two-hour session, the 7–10-year-old girls learned how to use Tinker-CAD, a computer-aided-design application for kids, discovered how 3D printers work, then 3D printed Halloween-related designs they’d made. Plus, currently all the rage and completely apropos for Halloween, they made some ooey-gooey slime. MakerGirl is a STEM education outreach program whose mission is to inspire girls to be active in STEM, to “live and dream as unstoppable forces that say yes to the challenges of the future.” Its ultimate goal? To channel more girls into the STEM Pipeline in order to foster “gender equality in all workplaces,” especially the STEM workforce.

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