Tech’s SciTEC, IDEA Place receive new exhibits
The adage states, “It takes a village to raise a child,” and if that’s the case, this community is doing its part through Louisiana Tech’s SciTEC Center and its hands-on museum, IDEA Place. Seven exhibits were donated from the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, though SciTEC had to cover the $3,800 shipping costs. However, Lindsey Vincent, interim director of SciTEC, said she was able to find willing donors in CenturyLink, the Ruston Junior Auxiliary organization and the Ruston-Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Without their support to have them mailed, this wouldn’t have happened,” Vincent said. “We have support from the community. A place like this operates on the generosity of others.” The seven new exhibits deal with aging, sound and body and will be permanent fixtures at the IDEA Place for individuals to see. Vincent said budget cuts had forced the museum to find new ways to increase exhibits. “We love partnerships and are always looking for ways to populate our facility,” Vincent said.Dr. Lawrence Leonard, dean of the College of Education, said Vincent and her SciTEC staff have been able to bring in new exhibits through creative and innovative ideas. “We have to bring in new things to attract the public,” Leonard said. “It’s important to stimulate learning in youth so it continues into adulthood.” SciTEC at Louisiana Tech is an active outreach program of the College of Education organized to serve the surrounding school systems and communities. It was originally conceived to meet the many challenges facing Louisiana schools in the new environment of accountability and as a shift in accepted pedagogy requiring the development of higher-order thinking skills in students and the incorporation of real-world experiences and hands-on learning activities that have caused classroom teachers to re-evaluate their teaching practices. In addition, SciTEC strives to address the acute shortage of teachers in the critical areas of math and science, the high percentage of uncertified teachers in Louisiana classrooms, and the low number of economically disadvantaged and minority students that enter post-secondary education programs. At the IDEA Place, visitors are given the opportunity to study and investigate the wonders of the world around them through the interactive exploration of scientific phenomena. These experiences, along with more formal learning approaches, stimulate curiosity, motivate further exploration, and increase appreciation and understanding in the area of science and mathematics. The IDEA Place is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and weekends by appointment. For more information, contact Vincent at 318-257-2866.