George Lucas Educational Foundation

An Old-School Coach Becomes a Facilitator for EAST

A teacher finds new inspiration for a different way of teaching though the Environmental and Spatial Technology Initiative. 
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An Old-School Coach Becomes a Facilitator for EAST

Coach Dick: I was a girls' basketball coach here for 16 years, and in the fall of '99, I found that the school was thinking about an EAST lab. When my manager told me what EAST was, I said, "Well, what does the facilitator do?" And he said, "Keeps kids off porn." And so I thought, "Well, I could do that."

Good evening. I'm Krystle Payne.

And I'm Logan Pratt. And here are tonight's top stories.

Coach Dick: And obviously, it became much more than that. It's the most innovative, educational movement there has ever been, in my opinion.

Both: And remember, stay in class, EAST, and good night.

Coach Dick: I was old-school. I was a science teacher, and I decided what the kids were going to learn, when they were going to learn it, how they were going to learn it, and which side of the paper they were going to put their names on when they turned it in. I was a little bit more of a liberal basketball coach and I didn't run a lot of set offenses, but I was old-school. I felt like I needed to be in control. And the concept of EAST did not lend itself to that, and it was hard for me to get over, but it was also exciting.

You did good, people.

Coach Dick: There's a career, I think, that clicks in where the students realize the opportunity they have.

So, where do you want me to stand?

Coach Dick: Once they get into a project and they see the results of the project, there's usually no holding them back. They finish one. They're ready to go on to another. The beauty of EAST is we're allowed to use real-world, industry-grade technology to go out and do projects, and if we fail, we fail, but it's not like they're out in the working world. They have the opportunity to stretch their legs and see what they can do. These kids don't learn something because they have to and then put it back on a test and lose it. When they finish their learning, they have it. They take it with them.

And all those rooms are the same size, right?


Coach Dick: They understand that what they're going out there to do is going to be used in the public. It's going to be seen by the public, and it's going to be judged by the public. That creates high expectations in itself.

Cobra EAST students find new creative ways to integrate technology in their projects in order to benefit the community.

Coach Dick: The Founder's Award is an optional competition that celebrates everything that the lab does over a year, and we have to do that into a presentation that is informative, concise, and, hopefully, entertaining.

Cool! I don't think I need to say anymore, do I?

Coach Dick: These kids are extremely hard on themselves and critical, and when they come out throwing high-fives and excited and doubling over, you know they've nailed it. So this is one of my special times, I'll tell you. This is what I come to work for.

It's really great.

Cobra EAST!

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Video Credits

Produced, Written, and Directed by

  • Ken Ellis

Associate Producer:

  • Amy Erin Borovoy


  • Kris Welch

Camera Crew:

  • Rob Weller
  • Jeff Woodward


  • Kris Welch

Original Music:

  • Ed Bogas

Still Photographs Courtesy of

  • Elaine Warrington
  • Fountain Lake High School

Watch more videos in the EAST series:

  • EAST -- A Way Forward: Tech Inspires Self-Directed Learning

    Students in the Environmental and Spatial Technology program, in Little Rock, Arkansas, connect with nature through projects that serve their community.

  • An Old-School Coach Becomes a Facilitator for EAST

    A teacher finds new inspiration for a different way of teaching though the Environmental and Spatial Technology Initiative.

  • Student Filmmakers Find a Voice Through EAST

    Middle-school students make sense of local history while creating an award-winning documentary in an Environmental and Spatial Technology Initiative class.

Comments (2) Sign in or register to comment Follow Subscribe to comments via RSS

Christine's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

How do you get one of these East Labs? That is the best idea I have seen for intergrating technology and regular classes.

Diane Demee-Benoit's picture
Diane Demee-Benoit
Former Director of Outreach at Edutopia


You can find out more about EAST by reading the article that accompanies this video segment. Click on the link just above the video player screen. The EAST Web site also has information about how to participate.

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