Virginia Tech Facility Offers STEM Training for Teachers, Students

Virginia Tech is providing hands-on STEM training to teachers and students with a new learning environment that is part lab, part makerspace and part classroom. The institution partnered with Qualcomm to launch the Thinkabit Lab, a facility geared toward creativity, collaboration and 21st-century skills, at Virginia Tech's Northern Virginia Center in Falls Church. 

Led by Virginia Tech's Department of Engineering Education in the College of Engineering and School of Education in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, the Thinkabit Lab will provide STEM education to underserved students, students underrepresented in STEM careers and teachers from the metro Washington, D.C. area. The lab will combine Qualcomm's World of Work and STEM coursework with Virginia Tech's academic depth in engineering and education to develop educators who will lead STEM experiences in schools and community programs, according to a press release.

In addition, Virginia Tech faculty will research how the Thinkabit Lab impacts students' access to and awareness of STEM education and career options.

"We know that STEM skills can enhance every student's future, regardless of their field of study, and we need to prepare both students and teachers to address the complex challenges of tomorrow," said Virginia Tech President Tim Sands, in a statement. "The Thinkabit collaboration with Qualcomm will allow us to join complementary strengths and work synergistically to create opportunities and lower barriers."

The Thinkabit Lab launched at Qualcomm's San Diego headquarters in 2014, and additional labs have since been built locally in three middle schools and a library. The Virginia Tech facility is Qualcomm's first Thinkabit Lab outside of San Diego.

For more information, go to the Thinkabit Lab website.

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].