May 18, 2024

Free Learner Space Summer Camp, July 21-22

A student learns about circuitry by using tools in UMW's LearnerSpace

A student learns about circuitry by using tools in UMW’s LearnerSpace

The College of Education is hosting a free LearnerSpace Summer Camp for children of UMW faculty and staff on July 21 and 22 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Participants will learn about the maker’s space, 3D printing, robotics and rockets. The camp is open to children ages 9 to 13 and takes place on the Stafford campus in the north building, room 112. Registration is required for each day at Contact Linda Falden at with questions.


Meadows Presents at STEM Conference

College of Education Professor George Meadows was an invited presenter at the STEM: Science with the Future in Mind Conference, held at the Virginia Military Institute Oct. 8 and 9.  The target audience for the 2013 conference was high school teachers and students. Teachers were able to explore current scientific research as well as the pedagogy of science. High school students were given the opportunity to build relationships with mentors involved in STEM. Meadows presented workshops featuring the work being done in the College of Education’s LearnerSpace, including demonstrations of 3-D printing, microcontrollers, and alternative input devices such as the Makey Makey and the LEAP Motion Controller.

Education Students Present at Festival of Makers

UMW COE graduate students Jane Clair Bishop, Valerie and Kelsie LaSalata provided demonstrations of 3D printing.

UMW COE graduate students Jane Clair Bishop, Valerie and Kelsie LaSalata provided demonstrations of 3-D printing at the Festival of Community Makers.

Students from UMW’s College of Education provided hands-on demonstrations of new technology at the Central Rappahannock Library’s Festival of Community Makers on Saturday. The Festival was held at the England Run Branch of the Library, from 2 p.m. through 5 p.m. and featured exhibits and demonstrations by local artists, craftspeople, and maker groups.

Mark Frauenfelder, author of Made by Hand and the editor of Make magazine, was the featured speaker at the event. Graduate students from the College of Education demonstrated 3-D printing, Makey Makey alternative input devices, and a LEAP motion controller, new technology that allows a user to control a computer by hand motions and finger gestures. Undergraduates enrolled in the education program provided attendees the opportunity to test their design skills by building and launching paper rockets and creating flyers for a wind tube. The demonstrations and hands-on activities were developed by COE students working in UMW’s two makerspaces, the ThinkLab and the LearnerSpace. University Librarian Rosemary Arneson also provided a demonstration of e-textiles as an example of work being done in the UMW makerspaces.

COE’s LearnerSpace Hosts CoderDojo Session

The College of Education’s new LearnerSpace, housed in the North Building of the Stafford Campus, provided the site for a meeting of the Fredericksburg CoderDojo group this past Saturday. CoderDojo is a program that matches programming and IT professionals with young people to mentor them in technology-related areas. Dojos are organized and run by volunteers. The LearnerSpace, UMW’s second makerspace, was developed by the College of Education as a site for educators and the community to learn about and work with emerging technology.

More than 20 young programmers and parents learned the basics of programming in HTML and Java from consultants from Red Hat, a consulting firm in Richmond. Among the Red Hat instructors was Elliot Sperlazza, UMW BS 2008, UMW MS in Elementary Education, 2009.  The attendees also had the opportunity to work with some of the LearnerSpace’s technology, including 3D printing, Cubelets modular robotics, and LittleBits circuitry.

The next meeting of the CoderDojo will be July 7, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the LearnerSpace.  If you would like to know more about CoderDojo or the LearnerSpace contact Professor George Meadows, COE, at

College of Education Hosts SeaPerch Competition

On Saturday, June 1, the College of Education hosted a SeaPerch competition for local high schools.  The competition was organized by the Naval Surface Warfare Center at Dahlgren. The SeaPerch program, funded by the Office of Naval Research, is an innovative underwater robotics program that equips teachers and students with the resources they need to build an underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) in an in-school or out-of-school setting.

Twelve teams from four schools (King George Middle School, Colonial Beach High School, Locust Grove Middle School and Prospects Heights Middle School) took part in the competition.  Teams guided their remote-controlled submersibles through a series of tasks, such as retrieving rope hoops from an underwater rack and navigating an underwater obstacle course.  The course, set up by Navy divers, was located on the bottom of the Goolrick Hall Pool.

The high school winner was Jason Vickery from Colonial Beach and the middle school winner was Ben Coffey from King George. Jason had the most points from the underwater challenge and Ben had the fastest time through the obstacle course.

John Wright, the STEM coordinator from the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division worked with George Meadows, Professor in the College of Education to bring the event to UMW.  Mr. Wright is planning for an even bigger competition next year.