The School of Education has started its transformation of our off-campus educational center into a group of high-tech learning spaces that will provide educational researchers, graduate students and others opportunities to work with state-of-the-art educational technologies and learning innovation design.
The Carolina Center for Educational Excellence, located adjacent to Smith Middle School in Chapel Hill, is being transformed into flexible learning spaces and equipped with up-to-date technology.
The CCEE will be used by the Master of Arts in Educational Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (MEITE) and other programs at the CCEE that center around the study and use of learning innovation design and educational technologies.
“We are thrilled with this new space and are excited about the opportunities our faculty and students will have to not only work with some of the latest edtech, but to explore new approaches to pedagogy, and curricular design,” said Lisa Dawley, director of the MEITE program and who led the renovation of the center.
The School spent $180,000 on the first phase of the renovation and build-out, creating flex spaces that can serve as classrooms and workshops. Funding for additional equipment and staffing will come from a partnership with Chapel Hill-Carrboro Public Schools.
The CCEE has been breaking in the new space with “ImagineLab” teen innovation summer camps for middle school and high school students. The weeklong camps – “DreamBuilders” and “GameChangers” – are offering opportunities for students to do projects in 2D and 3D design, film and sound, engineering, game design, and computer science. The students have been doing such things as learning software coding, composing original songs, programing robots, building computer games, producing videos, exploring immersive virtual reality and using 3D printers.
Among the students leading the camps are graduate students in the MEITE program. Starting this fall, a fellowship program established with a gift from alumnus Moise Khayrallah will support five MEITE students who will work in the CCEE during the academic year as interns, providing educational-technology training for faculty, educators and other students. As part of their academic work in the MEITE program, the Moise A. Khayrallah Innovation Fellows will also use technology within the center to engage in learning innovation design, with the potential to spin-out new educational products and services.
“We are living edupreneurship at its best,” Dawley said. “This center is already providing exciting opportunities for students to engage with new ways of learning and understanding how to leverage technology for innovation. I’m looking forward to faculty and others to begin work here as the School continues to explore best practices with the design of educational innovation.