East Initiative comes to BIC

Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Students joined Jill Sanders and the tech team offering assistance in setting up the classroom and learned how some of the equipment works.

The East Initiative technology team was at Buffalo Island Central High School last week installing state-of-the-art equipment with the help of several high school students and facilitator of the new class, Jill Sanders.

Sanders is excited to be part of the new program coming to BIC. The EAST Initiative is a non-profit organization supported by the Arkansas Department of Education that helps put technology into classroom benefiting students and the community.

EAST (Environmental and Spatial Technology, Inc), is a project-based, service-learning oriented program providing students with high-end technology.

EAST tech team, James Hopper and Reuben Canada are pictured with BIC's facilitator Jill Sanders, as they work together setting up the EAST Initiative classroom in time for the opening school year.

Among the equipment installed at BIC were computers, monitors, keyboards for 11 workstations, five printers, laptops, Ipads, Androids, video camera, broadcasting software, green screen, music software, plotter printer for posters, and the newest 3-D printer. BIC is among the first schools to get a 3-D printer this year.

EAST began in Greenbrier, Ark., in 1996 and has expanded to over 200 schools in five states including Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania.

EAST provides technical training sessions, professional development, program development, and community outreach for a program that has proven to help students acquire valuable experiences. It is a student directed curriculum geared to work with the school and community in service projects.

Greydon Williams working on the keyboard creating music with the new equipment.

Sanders said she has about 60 students enrolled in the new class. It is being set up in a classroom in the Mustang Athletic Complex (MAC). Sanders trained this summer for the new position and said she will continue to train.

"Young people are so in-tune with the latest technology the possibilities can be limitless," Sanders said. "Students will be looking for projects to utilize the equipment/technology to better the community and school. They will be looking for community partners to help."

The Ready Set Plan is an emergency preparedness program to help the community in case of a disaster. Through EAST, students will have GPS and GIS technology to help.

Sanders said if anyone is interested in partnering with the new program or have any project ideas they can contact her at (870) 516-0262.

Drawings on the board go to the screen.

She plans to have a website up and running in the near future. The website for EAST is eastiniative.org.

"This is an exciting opportunity for these students," Sanders aid. "They are fortunate to be exposed to this type of technology. The skills they will learn will be something they can take to college or the workforce."

"EAST is committed to taking technology to apply to service of the community," said James Hopper with the tech team installing the equipment at BIC.

Ruben Canada, the second member of the tech team at BIC, is a former EAST student. He, along with many other employees who are former EAST students, can share first-hand how the training has helped them in their career skills.

Sanders said several high school students helped with the installation and got a head start on learning how some of the equipment works.

One of the students said she is looking forward to creating videos for U-Tube.

One student said he hopes to partner with the journalism department using the broadcasting equipment.

The technology/equipment provided through EAST would cost approximately $100,000. The school provides the furniture, wiring, space and facilitator.

"We will be attending an EAST conference in March to showcase our projects," Sanders said. "I am looking forward to the year."

Superintendent Gaylon Taylor said he is extremely excited on behalf of the school and the community.

Taylor is familiar with the EAST Iniative program as his wife teaches EAST at Nettleton. Many of her students have received scholarships and he wants the students at BIC to have the same opportunities.

"EAST is a wonderful opportunity for our studnets," Taylor said. "It will open up a new area for our kids and they will be exposed to the newest technology available. They will have the opportunity to develop creativity they can use professionally after school."

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