Examples of ARC Education Projects
Appalachian Teaching Project
The Appalachian Teaching Project (ATP) gives college students the opportunity to engage in research projects that address endemic challenges facing Appalachian communities. Led by the Consortium of Appalachian Centers and Institutes, a coalition of 16 Appalachian-studies organizations, the program includes coursework and active research on issues related to building a sustainable future for Appalachian communities. Faculty and students at each participating institution design and carry out research projects tailored to the needs of targeted communities, many of which are in economically distressed counties. Project reports are presented at a conference held each year in Washington, D.C.
Supported by ARC to help build student leadership capacity, the program teaches real-world leadership skills, taking students out of the classroom and into their communities. The research conducted helps guide communities toward local solutions that help solve significant problems in a sustainable way; and the research presentations challenge ARC to take a fresh look at issues and solutions in the Appalachian Region. Since the program's inception in 2001, research projects have addressed a range of issues, including water quality, local leadership development, the environment, and regional history. Topics for 2015 are natural asset development, youth leadership, cultural asset promotion, tourism, and planning and innovation. The 2014 topics included strategic planning for rural communities; incorporating technology into community development; and preserving agricultural heritage.
The ATP is administered by the Center for Appalachian Studies and Services at East Tennessee State University (ETSU). Fifteen institutions from 10 Appalachian states participated in the 2015 Appalachian Teaching Project: Alfred State College (New York); Auburn University (Alabama); Appalachian State University (North Carolina); East Tennessee State University; Emory and Henry College (Virginia); Frostburg State University (Maryland); Morehead State University (Kentucky); University of North Georgia; Radford University (Virginia); Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College; the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford (Pennsylvania); the University of Tennessee; Indiana University of Pennsylvania; and Zane State College (Ohio).
The 2015 ATP presentations were held December 4–5 in Arlington, Virginia.
More information on the Appalachian Teaching Project is available on the ETSU Center for Appalachian Studies and Services Web site.
Greene County Schoolhouse Project Improves Access to Science and Technology ResourcesWhen schools in rural Greene County, Pennsylvania, wanted to integrate technology into the classroom to prepare students for new technology jobs, the West Greene School District and the RJ Lee Group, a consulting company based in Pittsburgh, formed a partnership to develop innovative curricula and School-to-Work programs that can be used as a model for developing high-technology jobs in rural areas.
West Greene School District and RJLG purchased and installed a scanning electron microscope and a computer lab in West Greene High School, and installed high-speed connections to the Internet to allow RJLG, as well as other schools and researchers, remote access to the microscope.
RJLG trained both teachers and students to use the microscope. Two teachers act as liaisons between RJLG and the Schoolhouse Project and teach students and teachers how to use the microscope and the computers. Through the Internet and video-conferencing, the Schoolhouse Project also works with Columbia Basin College in Washington State, Iowa State University, and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.
Teachers now incorporate one of the most sophisticated scientific instruments into the chemistry and biology courses at the high school. RJLG hired two students to prepare specimens and arrange them for remote viewing and analysis when they rent the microscope outside of school hours.
With the second phase of the project, additional equipment and computers were purchased, and 10 high school students and one college student were hired to work in the lab after school hours. New equipment allows the lab to prepare better quality and a wider variety of specimens for examination, and additional computers allow more students to work with the microscope simultaneously, as well as giving other high schools in the county—and beyond—greater access to the lab.
Classes at Waynesburg College, Cherry Hill School District (Washington County, Pennsylvania) and California, Pennsylvania, now use the scanning electron microscope remotely.
Elberton City Computer Center Fills a Learning Gap in the Community
Elberton City, Georgia, is giving students access to computers and help with schoolwork through its community technology center (CTC), a center supported in part by an ARC grant that funded renovations, furniture, and staffing, and by PowerUP, Inc., who gave the city computer equipment, training, and access to curricular resources.
Until the PowerUP Lab opened in March 2002, many children in Elberton had nowhere to go for after-school assistance. However, the demand for the center was much greater than expected. Though the center was intended for children, many adults in the community also wanted to use the center. Additionally, the center couldn't always accommodate all the children who wanted to use it. Similarly, those children who rode the bus to school could not participate in the program. The city also discovered that different types of assistance were required for elementary, middle, and high school students.
To accommodate these additional needs, the center has done a number of things in its second year of operation. The center purchased a van to transport children who didn't live within walking distance; the lab will expand to provide more workspace for volunteers to assist students with homework and for small groups to work at the computers; and lab hours will be extended to mornings to serve as a community learning center that will provide adults with literacy programs and volunteer training.