Castleton University is home to a new innovation lab, a unique space that will provide students with hands-on learning opportunities using state-of-the-art technology.
The Innovation Lab officially opened on Nov. 17 and is the first of its kind on Castleton’s campus. It will offer students the chance to engage in expanded learning opportunities, especially those in the Archaeology, Geography and Applied Anthropology, Nursing, and other programs with experiential learning components.
“The aim of the project is to provide students, staff, and faculty with introductions to new technologies that promise to have big impacts on teaching, learning, and creative endeavors in the coming years,” said Chris Boettcher, director of the Castleton Center for Teaching and Learning.
The Innovation Lab is comprised of two adjacent classroom spaces located on the second floor of Leavenworth Hall. One room is a dedicated telepresence room, outfitted for active learning. The adjoining lab space houses an extensive list of makerspace technologies including 3D scanners and printers, laser cutters, virtual reality headsets, and more.
“3D printing is a huge growth field,” said Matthew Moriarty, Archaeology, Geography, Applied Anthropology program coordinator and director of grants at Castleton. “When we’re done, we want our students to have a wide range of skills.”
The Innovation Lab was established through the collaboration of Upward Bound; the Archaeology, Geography, and Applied Anthropology program; the Center for Teaching and Learning and Educational Technologies/IT Services through the Pathway to Graduation Program; Student Government Association; and the USDA Community Facilities Program.
The technologies in the lab are already being put to good use. Students in Castleton’s Nursing program have been using the virtual reality headset, creating an augmented reality in healthcare that allows them to engage in interactive learning within the University’s Nursing Simulation Center.