Mobile-Virtual STEM Lab
Concept: WFL BOCES is seeking partners to apply to three funding sources to provide start-up and initial operational funding for an Innovation Center/STEM Lab. We have considered a fixed site in Newark. However, we are concerned with the logistics of student transportation. We are currently working a concept of a mobile, virtual, or blended innovation center/STEM Lab.
1) Rural districts lack the economy of scale to invest in STEM beyond one-to-one computers, 3D printers, and other relatively inexpensive equipment.
2) Research provides evidence that early loss of interest in science can be linked to students dropping out of science, and that self-efficacy and identification towards STEM careers is a strong predictor of future commitment towards STEM careers. By 7th and 8th grade if a student isn’t interested in science it is unlikely, they will succeed in this area.
3) Women and minorities are significantly underrepresented in STEM careers, and these careers are one of the fastest growing job sectors in America.
1) Provide teachers and students with resources to experience STEM learning through real-world experiences, project-based learning, and hands-on experiences with technology not normally part of a rural school’s resources.
2) Provide students with positive, exciting, and fun STEM learning experience that will lead to a higher student academic self-perception in STEM increasing their likelihood to participate in further STEM learning experiences and careers successfully.
3) Expand the ability for rural schools to access the 14 computer science on-line classes that EduTech is developing through the Learning Technology Grant.
Funding Opportunities: WFL BOCES is exploring three grant funding sources to fund this project. The first, the Education Innovation and Research Fund is due in April. We will apply to the other two funding sources in the summer. We are seeking a combined $4.5 million between the sources to fund the first four years. Once the equipment if purchased sustainment costs will be lower and funded through a CoSer.
If you choose to participate, we would ask you to:
1) Take part; to include sharing with relevant staff, in an additional short survey to gain input.
2) Share your ideas and concerns with us.
3) Depending on the funding source provide a letter of support or commitment or sign a Memorandum of Understating.
4) Through a CoSer pay a portion of the grant writing costs which is estimated to be $300 per district.
If you are interested in participating, please complete the Grant Interest Request below. If you have questions, please contact Chris Semler at or 585-200-2568.