By Steven Krolak
(NEW ALBANY, Ind.)–IU Southeast has received a Samtec Cares grant award of nearly $50,000.
The award will upgrade the School of Education’s STEM Learning Laboratory to better meet the demands of 21st century skills needed in our community. New technology and equipment will allow future K-12 teachers to design and implement hands-on experiences to support student learning.
The university has identified this as vital in an area–the access to and use of technology tools in classrooms–where both Indiana and Kentucky teachers struggle. At the same time, the workforce in the region lags below the national average in qualified science and engineering skills, so there is great urgency to these initiatives.
“The most effective teachers of tomorrow will be those best able to incorporate new technologies into content instruction, preparing their students for challenges in an increasingly global and technology-driven future,” said Dr. Sumreen Asim, assistant professor of STEM education and lead investigator of the grant proposal.
The grant will fund upgrades including a SMART board, a class set of 24 iPads and an iPad charging and storage cart, assistive listening technology for hearing impaired students, virtual reality headsets, and a computer system that is augmented-reality- and virtual-reality-compatible, as well as an Apple computer system.
The technology will be purchased and installed during the Fall 2019 term, and will be part of the curriculum beginning in Spring 2020.
The grant also provides for related professional development activities for faculty in the School of Education and across campus and for teachers in the community.
Founded in New Albany, Ind. in 1976, Samtec, Inc. is an industry leader in electronic connectors with nearly 6,000 employees in more than 40 locations worldwide selling its products in more than 125 countries.
The Samtec Cares grant program was created to positively impact and assist charitable organizations within surrounding communities in the areas of community development, health and social services, and arts and culture.
“As our company continues to grow and hire, we want to continue to foster technology and training in our region, which helps attract, develop and retain these talented people in our community,” said Pam Grieb, Samtec Cares grant administrator. “Helping IU Southeast ‘train the trainer’ was a natural fit for us, and we’re happy to support the STEM Learning Laboratory program through Samtec Cares.”
The grant demonstrates Samtec’s ongoing commitment to bolstering STEM education in the community, already evident in its sponsorship of robotics competitions.
“Samtec’s support of this project will allow our science education professors to better prepare our future teachers and provide continuing professional development to our area in-service teachers, as well as inspire gifted and talented students interested in STEM careers in a modern, exciting STEM Learning Laboratory,” Asim said.
For Dr. James Hollenbeck, professor of secondary science education and co-program director, thriving schools are part of thriving communities. With Samtec’s support for the first major renovation and facilities upgrade to the laboratory, IU Southeast is in a better position to contribute to that dynamic.
“The grant will enable IU Southeast to continue to develop classroom leaders,” Hollenbeck said. “The majority of secondary science education students come to IU Southeast with strong IT skills, so it is important that we have the equipment that they expect and will be able to use in their future teaching.”
Homepage photo: IU Southeast Chancellor Dr. Ray Wallace and Dr. Sumreen Asim, assistant professor of STEM education and lead investigator of the grant proposal, receive the support of Samtec.