$150,000 Donation Will Enhance Catawba College Active Learning Center

(WBTV File)
(WBTV File)
Published: May. 8, 2019 at 7:08 AM EDT
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SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - A $150,000 donation to the Catawba College MIND BODY SOUL campaign from Greg and Missie Alcorn of Salisbury will be used to enhance the college’s growing active learning center, housed at the Corriher-Linn-Black Library.

Earl Givens Jr., director of the library, said the funds will be used to build a Digital Maker Space Lab that will blend the digital world with the real world.

Equipment will allow students to create digital and physical objects, do 3-D printing on a large scale, video production, laser engraving and digital art. The 3-D prints, such as a suit of armor for a theater student project, will be connected to augmented reality to bring the project to life, Givens said. “We will be combining several technologies.”

The technology makes Catawba one of the leaders in this field. “We’re cutting edge … ahead of the game, if we continue our momentum,” Givens says. “The technology makes students more employable, helps with recruitment of new students, and gives students an opportunity to master 21st century technology skills.”

Greg Alcorn said that he and his wife love Catawba. “The Maker Space is a unique resource, helping students adapt to a changing world. What a terrific asset!”

Active learning is the key to reaching today’s college student, Givens says. “These students grew up in technology and they will not ask for help,” he says. “They prefer to try to do it themselves, and they struggle. The question is: ‘How do we engage this generation?’ ”

Catawba’s first active learning center, called the ICE Box (Innovate. Collaborate. Engage.) is also located in the library. Funded with a $100,000 grant from the federal Institute of Museum of Library Science, the lab is used for hands-on learning instead of lectures. “This is where students are able to imagine, create and see that creation come to life,” Givens says. An an example, all furniture is on wheels –desks, chairs, computers and printer tables – so that students move about easily and collaborate.

Plans are for the ICE Box to continue as a hands-on lab. Augmented reality and virtual reality equipment will be housed in the new Digital Maker Space.

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