A Global Message: Preparing K-12 Students for the Future

May 27, 2014 Education

Lynne Schrum, Dean at the College of Education and Human Services, West Virginia University (WVU), is passionate about "preparing K-12 learners for their future and preparing teachers and administrators for their students' future."

Throughout her career as a teacher, professor and author, Schrum has worked with teachers and leaders in many states and countries as they strive toward establishing 21st century schools, develop STEM initiatives, and design effective learning environments.

To carry on this work at WVU, she has partnered with CMU's CREATE Lab as an outreach satellite. CREATE Lab —Community Robotics, Education and Technology Empowerment—provides educators with access to technology that empowers them to engage with students and identify student talents. CREATE Lab came about through the convening of the Kids + Creativity Network, a P32 education initiative.

One year after joining the network, there has been a lot of success.

An example is North Elementary School in Morgantown, WV, where a garden-based learning program has teachers wrapping students' interests, authentic learning and technology into the curriculum. Schrum says that "teachers are rethinking the curriculum and students are learning science, math, and literacy by growing the food, eating the food and bringing the food to market."

The students are particularly excited about the use of GigaPan at the garden. Using this imaging technology in a time lapse mode, students are able to watch the garden grow — even better, they can watch the worms eat garbage they put in the compost.

Teachers are on the front line of education, but Schrum is adamant that it takes school leaders to embrace STEM initiatives and authentic learning to make an impact. "School leaders that have changed student achievement have supported teachers to use technology as part of their effort to improve student achievement," she explains.

Embracing technology and programs like CREATE Lab, "engages both students and teachers, and keeps them curious," adds Schrum.

Schrum would love to see CREATE Lab satellites all over the world.

In fact, she has become somewhat of a global ambassador for the program. As she speaks around the world on the topic of preparing future leaders and teachers for 21st century schools, she promotes CREATE Labs.

Her next trip is to Turkey where she speaks at the 2nd International Instructional Technologies and Teacher Education Symposium and the International Conference on Education in Mathematics, Science & Technology.

She is proud of her international connections and her ability to share with and learn from educators worldwide. In the end, she points out, "The more our students everywhere see us interconnected to the whole world, the better."