Sometimes it's okay to think inside the box

With a little ingenuity, LocknCharge laptop carts can easily be transformed into mobile STEM/STEAM labs.

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education is critical for the nation’s competitiveness. It can help inspire students on a path to a successful career and many jobs of the future will require at least some knowledge of key STEM concepts.

For these reasons, many educators are looking for creative ways to approach STEM education in their classrooms by engaging students with hands-on projects and learning activities. Technologies such as virtual reality headsets, 360-degree cameras, robotics kits, and 3D printers allow students to design, tinker, program, build, test, and troubleshoot as they put important STEM skills and concepts into practice.

These technologies can be expensive to buy for all classrooms. One idea a number of schools are using to help deliver hands-on STEM education tools in a cost-effective way is mobile STEM labs.

Mobile STEM labs can be wheeled from classroom to classroom as needed. This lets K-12 leaders buy enough VR headsets, robotics kits, or other technologies for a single class. Then they can share the equipment among multiple classes within a single building, grade level, or department.

Some manufacturers offer specialised carts for transporting their STEM-related technologies, but these carts are usually expensive. At LocknCharge, we suggest a more budget-friendly solution. By thinking “inside the box,” educators can easily transform LocknCharge laptop carts into mobile STEM labs that can transport mobile computing devices for students and hands-on STEM technologies at the same time.

The open design of our laptop carts allows educators to reconfigure the carts to transport many different kinds of technologies. Imagine wheeling a Carrier 30 Cart into your classroom that contains baskets of tablets and programmable robots. Students split into groups of four; each group has its own robot that students can program using the tablet from the cart’s baskets. Talk about a recipe for fun and engaging STEM learning!

A robotics-themed mobile STEM lab is not the only configuration possible with our laptop carts. Here are some other great ideas:

Virtual Reality Cart: This would include a classroom set of virtual reality headsets and mobile devices that fit inside the viewers. Using apps like Google Expeditions, Titans of Space, or Anatomyou, students could be transported on immersive journeys to places like Antarctica, the International Space Station, the planets of our solar system, or the inside of the human body. And if you add a 360-degree camera, students could use software like Wonda, Unity, or InstaVR to create their own immersive VR experiences!

Engineering Cart: This would contain a 3D printer and tablet or laptop computers for creating three-dimensional renderings (using software like Tinkercad or SketchUp) that students would bring alive with the printer.

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