Tuesday, February 22, 2011

TechLab 2000 - Modular Technology

By Paul Malone
Retired technology education teacher
Liverpool CSD
TechLab2000 was one of the first canned programs designed to help deliver the new 7th & 8th grade Technology Education curriculum and syllabus adopted by the New York State Board of Regents in the late 1980’s. Activities were designed to help students learn concepts and achieve learning objectives as stated in the NYS syllabus. Students developed critical problem-solving skills, improved their ability to work in teams and understood how multiple 
disciplines could be integrated to explore, understand and resolve complex problems. Many other types of canned programs were soon developed and adopted after the introduction of this Creative Learning Systems' –TechLab 2000. Liverpool Central School District was able to win a NY State Legislator’s grant to help purchase a CLS program package thanks to the efforts of Tom LaClair and John Cooper. 

TechLab 2000 is an integrated system of furniture, hardware, software, curriculum, 
technology-based learning tools, resources and supplies. It consisted of a series of self- 
directed, modular activities for students to experiment and explore the world of technology. Some of the activities included model building with LEGOS and Capsela; structure building with Buckminster Fuller’s tensegrity geodesic dome ideas; pneumatic and electric power systems. Computer related activities helped students learn how to communicate better in the new age of information: including desktop publishing, and CAD; These activities were designed to be completed on a unique island type laboratory system featuring modeling stations, computer consoles and energy/technology platforms. 

Most casual observers remarked how different and state-of-the-art the techlabs looked as students were all focused and busy on many multiple activities all at the same time! Teams of 2 students each completed these activities. Students and their required activities were tracked through a computer program. Students studied several types of activities with a variety of student partners. Advanced, synergistic activities required students with a variety of expertise and skill levels to problem solve a design challenge, and to develop a well thought out solution, and then present findings to the class. In the early 21st century, TechLab 2000 and it's curriculum easily aligned with State and National learning standards. 

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