A bus outfitted with high-tech instructional gear will start rolling into Lansing's low-income areas this summer to help kids with math and science concepts, prepare for college, and train as tomorrow's scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs.
The TechTransport Bus
is among the latest innovative strategies of the nonprofit Information Technology Empowerment Center to bring STEM education to local communities whose residents have limited access to home computers and the Internet.
The bus serves as a mobile computer lab, bringing courses in robotics, digital media, game design, animation programming, and web and app development. A "spaceship simulator" will enable students to travel to distant planets and serve as members of a crew. Basic computer literacy, college readiness workshops, after school tutoring programs in math and science, and GED prep and entrepreneurship classes will also be part of the curriculum.
"We're looking at fantastic educational opportunities that can help people develop the skills needed for 21st
century jobs," says Luke Kane, director of education programs at ITEC. "We hope to take the bus to whoever wants to use it."
ITEC expects to have the bus on the road as early as July 2015, with stops anticipated at local schools, community centers, business parking lots, summer camps or special events. The bus can accommodate up to 14 students at a time. ITEC expects to serve 2,500 students annually throughout the Capital region through TechTransport programs.
Kane says ITEC plans to hire several staff to provide programming, and is in the process of recruiting students from Lansing Community College to work on the bus.
Lansing's Dean Transportation
donated the bus, while the R.E. Olds
and Joe D. Pentecost
foundations helped outfit the bus exterior with a high-tech look. ITEC is seeking additional funds to help cover the costs of hardware, classroom materials, maintenance and upkeep.
Source: Luke Kane, Director of Education Programs, Tech Transport
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Innovation News Editor
Got a story idea for Innovation News? Email Ann Kammerer here.