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Teachers can record interactive, virtual lessons for free

You can connect to the hotspot outside the lab

The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research provides this lab.
The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research provides this lab. (Institute for Advanced Learning and Research)

DANVILLE, Va. – Internet access continues to be an issue for many students across Virginia as they try to learn from home. But there’s a unique solution.

Danville Public Schools and the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research teamed up to help with internet using the mobile Inspiration Lab.

It will be parked at the former W. Townes Lea Elementary School on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons all this month.

You can connect to the hotspot outside the lab and teachers can reserve an appointment to record virtual lessons on everything from From 3D printers and robots to a chemical fume extractor.

More information from a news release:

Danville Public Schools (DPS) and the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) are partnering to expand virtual teaching resources for educators while supplementing WiFi access for students, their families and the community. IALR’s 45-foot mobile Inspiration Lab will be parked at the former W. Townes Lea Elementary School on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons during the month of May to serve these audiences.

“During this unprecedented time of COVID-19, our teachers are learning to teach differently,” stated DPS Superintendent Dr. Stanley Jones. “In my 35 years in public education, there has never been a more important time for collaboration and building strong partnerships. Working with the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research gives our teachers access to a world-class mobile lab that will provide a unique experience for both teachers and students.”

“We are extremely grateful for the partnership we have with Danville Public Schools and other area school divisions to support the instructional needs of our area’s educators as well as the learning and WiFi access needs of our students and the community at large,” said Dr. Julie Brown, Director of Advanced Learning at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research. “Continuing to leverage the advanced technology of our mobile Inspiration Lab is one way we can keep our region moving forward.”

Students, their families and the community may access the Inspiration Lab’s WiFi hotspot from noon-4 p.m., every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the month. Personal mobile devices, such as Google Chromebooks, should be used to connect from outside the lab within the parking lot of the former W. Townes Lea Elementary School. No unscheduled visitors will be allowed inside the mobile lab at this time. The hotspot is called IALR Inspiration Lab AP1.

Teachers may reserve an individual appointment time on the Inspiration Lab to record their next virtual lesson and to teach students from an engaging, new setting. The mobile lab offers advanced technology and resources to complement a wide range of instructional topics, especially regarding science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). From 3D printers and robots to a chemical fume extractor, the Inspiration Lab is equipped to support most hands-on instructional needs. With proper advance notice and planning, IALR will also assist requesting teachers with instructional resources for coding, robotics, electronics and more.

Teachers can view available resources at ialr.org/inspiration-lab. They can request an appointment at bit.ly/DPSgovirtual. Advance registration is required to prepare the necessary equipment and to ensure only one teacher accesses the Inspiration Lab at a time.

For questions or additional information, please contact Bruce Waller, IALR Program Coordinator for the Inspiration Lab, at bruce.waller@ialr.org or (434) 770-8777.

The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research serves Virginia as a regional catalyst for economic transformation with applied research, advanced learning, advanced manufacturing, conference center services and economic development efforts. The Institute’s major footprint focuses within Southern Virginia, including the counties of Patrick, Henry, Franklin, Pittsylvania, Halifax and Mecklenburg along with the cities of Martinsville and Danville. To learn more, visit www.ialr.org.


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