The Environmental and Spatial Technologies (EAST) Initiative offers students and teachers professional technology and software for use in a loosely-structured, self-driven environment.
The EAST Initiative is an educational nonprofit that oversees and trains for a school program that operates primarily in the United States. It is unique for offering students and teachers professional technology and software for use in a loosely-structured, self-driven environment.
EAST began with one classroom in Greenbrier, Arkansas in 1996. Former law-enforcement officer Tim Stephenson was in his first year of teaching, and having had experience with “disconnected” youth, had been assigned a classroom of “at risk” students. In seeking a point of interest for them, Stephenson proposed an outing to a spot near the school where students often went to skip classes. The wooded area included a creek and a pond. It was pointed out that it would be muddy crossing the creek. The first EAST project turned out to be a bridge across that creek.
Realizing that the K-12 education system lacked the needed technology as well instruction in using it, Stephenson sought help from an Arkansas technology firm that introduced him to national and international resources. The academic-business partnerships that were formed became the foundation for a new and relevant model of learning, and the results have been astounding.
There are 215 EAST Labs in Arkansas.