LIVINGSTON — More than 20 teachers from 12 schools across the parish recently gathered at the Livingston Parish Public Schools’ Central Office for more than two hours on a January afternoon to learn how to customize for their students the many learning activities and games that are available on the STEAM Express.
“This workshop is in high demand. It’s the fifth one we’ve scheduled since rolling out our STEAM Express,” Instructional Technology Facilitator Nikki Lavergne said. “And we’ve already scheduled another one at the end of the month.”
The STEAM Express is a school bus that has been converted into a mobile classroom that is equipped with Wi-Fi, touch-screen monitors and laptops, and hands-on, interactive modules that are designed to help students creatively learn concepts in a variety of subject areas, according to a news release. The flexible design allows educators to easily transition the bus set up from elementary-level activities to high-school-level projects.
Lavergne said at least one person from each school must be fully trained in how to set up the equipment, how to program it and use it, and how to manage the learning time among the various activities before that school can schedule the STEAM Express for a visit.
“The February calendar is full, and March is already getting crowded,” Lavergne said. “Every school is scheduling the bus to come for day and evening activities.” She noted some community events also have been scheduled.
Lavergne said many schools are incorporating the STEAM Express in their regular math, science and literacy night events. Teachers who have completed the district’s workshop are able to customize the learning activities for the focused subject and targeted age group of their choice.
“If it’s Literacy Night, then teachers can program the activities to focus on word games, spelling and vocabulary learning activities; if it’s Math Night or Science Night, then the activities might include coding or games associated with addition, subtraction or multiplication.”
Lavergne said the virtual reality equipment allows teachers to expand lessons in science, social studies and cultural learning activities.
“There are so many different options available to our teachers. That’s what’s so exciting about the STEAM Express,” she said. “It just makes learning fun and that’s always a positive thing.”
The STEAM Express schedule includes the following afternoon and evening appearances, which parents and community members are invited to attend:
Feb. 5 Springfield Middle School
Feb. 7 Eastside Elementary
Feb. 11 Seventh Ward Elementary
Feb. 18 Frost Elementary
Feb. 21 Live Oak Elementary
Feb. 25 Doyle High School
Feb. 26 Doyle Elementary
Feb. 28 Juban Parc Elementary
March 11 Southside Community Outreach (EASTOVER)
March 12 South Live Oak Elementary
March 14 Gray’s Creek Elementary
March 19 French Settlement Elementary School
March 21 Levi Milton Elementary
March 28 Freshwater Elementary School
March 30 Pre-K Registration @ Literacy and Technology Center
April 16 Live Oak Middle School
March 18 Lewis Vincent Elementary