The EAST initiative..

( Environmental and Spatial Technology )

The history of EAST Labs development....

The EAST Initiative ( Environmental and Spatial Technology ) originally was the result of a dynamic collaboration between business and education. In December 2001, EAST became a 501(c) (3) non-profit governed by a Board which is a cross-section of business, government and private sectors. Today, it is supported in a large part by a new generation of "academic partnerships" through financial support for infrastructure as well as active participation at the local school level by providing awareness and access to necessary and relevant resources. (This information was provided by

The underlying philosophy for these partnerships is the educational model that is EAST. That philosophy is based on the following principles:

  • All students have value and deserve the opportunity to demonstrate their value to their school and community.
  • Education must be relevant, challenging, purposeful, and student centered.
  • Educators should serve as resource guides and learner facilitators.
  • Learning should be self-directed and oriented towards real-world projects.
  • High expectations must be maintained and must drive all student efforts.

    Solving our problems today through technology...

    For years, educators and researchers have noted the gains in student achievement as a direct result of student directed learning. EAST Lab, which stands for Environmental and Spatial Technology, is just that type of learning environment. At Parkview, students work under teacher/facilitator Paul Smith.

    The major project the students are working on this year is an environmental study of Fourche Creek - one of the largest urban wetlands in the country.

    Some of the projects that students have done so far include testing the water in Coleman Creek, a tributary that flows into Coleman Creek, trash pickups in the area, and GPS tracking of a nature trail along one of the tributaries of Fourche creek.

    Student's work is done primarily on the computer, with field work done as necessary. Parkview worked on the Fourche Creek project with McClellan and Central High Schools.

    "The project is totally student driven," said Smith, "It is project/service based learning using high-end technology. Students are intrinsically motivated - and do what they want within the project's framework. We are very proud of the work they have done thus far."

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