CREATE Lab at Carnegie Mellon University is an acronym for Community Robotics, Education, and Technology Empowerment - a perfect description of the lab's growing satellite program. Through the efforts of the CREATE Lab and its outreach satellites at the June Harless Center at Marshall University, Center for Arts and Education at West Liberty University, the College of Education and Human Services at West Virginia University, Carlow University: Campus School and School of Education and ASSET STEM Education, educators have access to technology that empowers them to engage with students and identify student talents.
The satellites are a true partnership. According to Illah Nourbakhsh, Professor of Robotics, Director of the CREATE Lab, "we provide the education technology and the satellites provide the professional development practice and the research to evaluate the curriculum and its effect on students."
"The idea behind a long-term satellite relationship is that we do retreats together, envision together, fundraise together and have workshops together," explains Dr. Nourbakhsh. "We have partnerships with numerous school districts where the technology is deployed through their teachers, and then we and our satellite partners track whether it actually improves student learning."
CREATE Lab and its satellite partners have recently applied for a grant from the National Science Foundation to identify student talent.
"We believe that every student in the class has talent," says Dr. Nourbakhsh. "Our creative technology facilitates the process of engaging students in such a way that they show their talents and can develop their talents further... and feel they have a really strong future."
Interstate cooperation is important for improving the future of the region. The CREATE Lab satellite program helps ensure that the region's students are prepared for the high-demand jobs in regional growth industries and entrepreneurial sectors.
"Often universities will parachute into a community and do a test, write a paper and leave no lasting impact; no room for social or sociological change," points out Dr. Nourbakhsh. "We are focused on creating a meaningful, long-term sustainable impact by creating local empowerment."
Dr. Nourbakhsh says that West Virginia has been a perfect fit for CREATE Labs because the people care about the environment, care about learning and need a vision for future careers. Based on the success of the program, CREATE Labs is looking to extend the satellites in the Power of 32 region.