March 3, 2024

Partner Spotlight (@Your Library-Winter issue, page 28)

Exploring Education

UMW grad student gives community families hands-on science education.

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.

Summer Maker Camp Uses UMW’s Learner Space

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

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

Thirteen students ages 8 to 14 participated in a unique summer program using tools contained in the UMW College of Education’s LearnerSpace, a new maker space for education on the Stafford campus.  The College sponsored this first-time camp and COE Professor George Meadows worked with program personnel and the students during the week-long camp from August 5 to 9.

Campers worked with a number of the resource materials in the LearnerSpace, including 3D printing, coding video games, simulations and interactive stories, and learning about microelectronics and circuitry through various devices. One student composed a musical arrangement of ‘Lean On Me’ entirely using computer code. Kids also launched rockets constructed from paper, challenged each other in creating squishy circuits made with conductive dough, and even made use of sewing machines, needles, conductive thread, and LED’s to make electronic stuffed animals.  One student created an interactive electronic doll version of the Creeper, a character from the popular online game, Minecraft.  Another student, continuing with the Minecraft theme, used the alternative input device, the Makey Makey, to build a large Play Dough game controller to move his character around the Minecraft environment.

The week-long camp taught children about 3D printing, electronics and robotics

The week-long camp taught children about 3D printing, electronics and robotics

The camp was organized by as one of its kidOYO educational technology programs.  NoizIvy is a local non-profit engaged in helping educators deliver advanced programs in schools, as well as producing a host of other student-driven educational programs.

For more information about NoizIvy visit  To find out more about the College of Education’s LearnerSpace contact George Meadows at

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.

Courtney Clayton and George Meadows Publish Article

Courtney Clayton, Assistant Professor of Education, and George Meadows, Professor of Education, published their article, Action Research in Preservice Teacher Education, in the Spring 2013 volume of The Teacher Educators’ Journal. The journal is published by the Association of Teacher Educators in Virginia. The Association of Teacher Educators was founded in 1920 and is an individual membership organization devoted solely to the improvement of teacher education both for school-based and post secondary teacher educators. ATE members represent over 700 colleges and universities, over 500 major school systems, and the majority of state departments of education.

The Intersection of Digital Literacy and Social Media (Campus Technology)

DTLT Featured in Educause Publication

Tim Owens holds a product of a 3D printer

The Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies’ work with 3D printing and building a Makerspace are covered in the Educause Learning Initiative’s “7 Things You Should Know About 3D Printing.” The article references the fall 2012 first-year seminar “Mashups and Makerbots,” taught by George Meadows, associate professor in the College of Education, and Tim Owens, instructional technology specialist in DTLT.

George Meadows and Tim Owens’ Work Featured in Campus Technology

George Meadows, associate professor in the College of Education, and Tim Owens in the Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies were featured in Campus Technology for their work with 3D printing in an article titled “Making Stuff: 3D Printing on Campus.” Meadows and Owens are in the process of exploring the technology and documenting the process at UMW Blogs in preparation to integrate the device as a curriculum component to a freshman seminar course in the fall. 3D printing technology allows students to build 3-dimensional models on a computer using free and easy-to-use software and then “print” them by extruding plastic in layers to create an object.