How to Set Up an EAST Lab: Q&A with Matt Dozier
The president and CEO of the Environmental and Spatial Technologies Initiative answers questions on how to start a school laboratory for tech projects.
How much does it cost a school to set up an EAST lab? How do most schools get that money?
We tell the schools they need to raise about $150,000 to get started. This amount covers all technology, training, and support for the first two years of the program -- and quite a bit of that money stays in the school. After the first two years, the costs are much lower.
Most schools use grants or state or federal monies. We are eligible for federal Enhancing Education Through Technology funding, according to most of our states; schools also use local monies. We work with candidates to identify funding sources, but in many cases, they already have these in mind when we begin to work with them.
How do the schools get all the software and technology? Is it a package deal EAST sends out, or is each school responsible for finding its own gear?
EAST specifies what equipment goes in to the classrooms to start, but the school pays for it.
How are the relationships with adult mentors and local organizations in the community formed? Is that something EAST facilitates, or do teachers just go out on their own to find the contacts?
We provide extensive training and support. In some cases, we work with larger-scale organizations and connect them with the schools. In many cases, our travels bring us into contact with community resources we connect back with the schools. We are intentional in our training to work with the facilitators on this entrepreneurial skill, for the simple reason that it is the community relationships the students begin to cultivate that prove to be so powerful in the development of their programs. EAST is built around empowering the students and the schools to help strengthen their communities, not around limiting their access.
How much teacher training does an EAST facilitator go through?
In the first year, it is extensive -- about twenty-three days spread throughout the year -- and after that, it runs about five to seven days. We have found that you can't put the teacher-facilitators through a two-day workshop and then expect them to be able to fully make the pedagogical changes they need to make to take full advantage of the EAST model.
Instead, we give them a phased approach to training that starts out with just-in-time information to get started and builds over the year into how to sustain and build a program. After the first year, we work with them on networking with other EAST facilitators and schools and on helping their programs grow and develop.
For more information, contact Bruce Jones at email@example.com.