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It’s the end of another school year, and once again I sit stupefied by the awesome work I’ve seen from EAST students this year. I’m not surprised, exactly. I learned a long time ago not to underestimate those who participate in EAST. That’s literally why I work here. But the results always leave me somewhere well beyond impressed. For instance, take Buffalo Island Central High School (BIC) and its tiny population of 170 students up in the corner of Northeast Arkansas. Confronted with a room full of technology and this wild idea that they can change the world — something most students don’t hear often enough — they go and win the highest acclaim EAST can hand out, our Founder’s Award, after only three years in existence. And then what do they do? They commit to working harder than ever. But BIC isn’t alone in being a small school in Northeast Arkansas doing incredible things. Armorel High School (a Founder’s finalist that took home honors for its project sophistication) won this year’s National Service Project award for creating a program of life lessons in virtual environments that exemplify how virtual reality can be a valuable tool in education. Learning happens not just for students putting on a headset, but those creating content for it as well. Speaking of VR in education, EAST recently had a chance to speak to an expert in the field, Shauna Heller of Clay Park VR in Palo Alto, California, and get her take on where things stand and where they’re going. She also had an assessment of EAST’s approach to this brave new world. Be sure to check it out. Of course, engaging with technology and transforming communities, while serious work, can also sometimes be just plain fun. Meet a Harrisburg senior whose project epitomizes a more carefree (but no less legitimate) approach to lessons in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. Toss in some insight into the creative process of integrating technology and design in creating an EAST Conference booth and a behind-the-scenes look at the stage productions at this year’s Conference, and you’ve got a busy issue to conclude a busy year.


6215 Ranch Dr. Little Rock, AR 72223 501.371.5016 MAGAZINE TEAM Editor - Spencer Watson Designer - Diana Denning CONTRIBUTORS Doug Gusewelle PHOTOGRAPHY Spencer Watson COVER PHOTO Lena Rocole PRINTING/PUBLISHING Printed by Allegra Print & Imaging of Arkansas, Inc. Published digitally through Issuu at: Disclaimer The publisher cannot accept responsibility for any unsolicited materials lost or damaged in the post. All text and layout is the copyright of the EAST Initiative. Nothing in this magazine may be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written permission of the copyright holder. All copyrights are recognized and used specifically for the purpose of criticism and review.

Now it’s time to get started thinking about the next one. Spencer Watson

Editor EAST Quarterly



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Spring 2017 EQ  

The quarterly magazine of the EAST Initiative.

Spring 2017 EQ  

The quarterly magazine of the EAST Initiative.