Enhancing Education

Check out that 3D printer! No, really, you can literally check it out!

UST School of Engineering and CSCOE Partner on C-STEM Lending Library

 

For the 79 Catholic schools in the Twin Cities metro area, checking something out from the library now means even more. Thanks to a revolutionary new partnership between the Catholic Schools Center of Excellence (CSCOE) and the University of St. Thomas (UST) School of Engineering, the C-STEM Lending Library is now in business this fall, providing materials for lessons in science, technology, engineering and math through the Catholic lens.

Catholic school teachers using the online library catalog reserve high tech items that would otherwise be unaffordable or unattainable for schools. These are items such as 3D printers, dash robots, circuitry kits and design packs that teach about everything from parachutes and windmills to solar ovens and water filters.

 

The resource is such a huge gift, and one that we use with our faith to make the world a better place.

 

“You could describe this as something that has gone from 0-60  in a short time,” said Don Weinkauf, dean of UST’s School of Engineering. “UST serves as the hub, receiving the orders through the web interface. Really, though, this program is driven by CSCOE and the wonderful network of teachers,” Weinkauf shared. “The biggest thing for us is saying ‘yes’! We will find a way to make these STEM goals happen and do it well. The real sweet spot is in the sharing and intercommunication between library users, teachers and students about how to best use these products.”

That relationship is facilitated through Tierney, a Twin Cities-based firm that helps schools with educational product needs. Ryan Semans, CSCOE’s director of instructional technology and implementation, has helped with the logistical implementation of the C-STEM Lending Library.

“The one product checked out the most? The virtual reality kit. I had one teacher say the VR kit is checked out for the entirety of the next school year,” Semans said. “At the beginning, we asked: What products do we start with? What do we add in the future? We had a pretty strong feeling that these tools were going to be checked out often and used frequently, but we didn’t want to buy a bunch of things and then have them sit.”

And sit they won’t. Mary Wollmering, an elementary media specialist at Holy Spirit Catholic School in St. Paul, said the C-STEM Lending Library has enhanced her students’ learning.

“Children now are global citizens. They know who they are and that they have a voice. In the world we live in now, it’s essential to have faith along with the STEM learning,” Wollmering said. “They’ve taught me along the way, too. The resource is such a huge gift, and one that we use with our faith to make the world a better place.”

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