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Tech Lab's Auto Exploration Course Simulator. 
 
We are so fortunate to have one of the best Technology Education Labs in the Commonwealth and in the country!  This lab allows students to choose, explore, experiment, solve problems, and learn about technology topics while having fun!  Hopefully we will learn that success and failure are part of life and that we hope to learn from both! 
 
The Technology Education Lab uses class management software and Courses from the LabVolt company.  We have added "Student Made" Courses that also allow students to learn and be tested from computers. "Courses" are 2 week Technology units (or "Modules")  that provide learning, testing, and doing. This system allows the class to be doing over 12 different Courses or Activities (or Modules)  at all station areas in one class period.
 
"Student Made" Activities  require students to use knowledge they learned and problem solving to complete.  Most Activities take from 5 to 15 days depending on the student's ability. Activities are graded solely on the outcome and effort of the team at using knowledge gained to solve the final problem.

After the initial "Introduction to Technology 1" Course, students get to choose their future modules. Everyone has to take "Intro" the first year.

Students take a NON-graded pre-test, then experience online content including animations, audio, text, drawings, and video clips about the area they have chosen. The software has audio and "text to speech" capabilities. Then they take a unit test on the information they should have learned. At the end of all 5 or more units, they take the same test as the pretest (this time for 2/3 of their course grade) in random order to determine how much they have learned. The post tests and pre-tests are generally the same questions as the 5 unit tests (and review questions). There is exception for "homemade" courses which have review questions instead of unit tests at the end of each unit
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Along the way they either draw, write, model, or play, to learn about the concepts of the course. Effort is the biggest factor in being successful in the lab.

Lab Objectives:

Students will learn:

-To conduct themselves within a complex environment as a team to become self-directed learners.

-To solve problems by investigation, trial & error, and experimentation.

-To experience general information about STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) topics through computer-based instruction and activities.
 
Lab Classes
 
There are 3 technology classes for the 3 grade levels at NCMS:
 
 
Click on the links above to see a more detailed description.
 
Lab Courses:
 
Courses are "mini-subjects" or chapters of Technology Education that student choose in different classes.  
 
Our 8th grade students have made over 8 new Courses in the last couple of years.  Imagine that, students "teaching" students.  They have created Courses such as: Audio 1, Inventions 1, Computer Gaming 1 & 2, Flight Exploration 2, Making Videos 1, CSI Tech 1,  and more that need to be edited by the facilitator.
 
Follow the link for "Tech Lab Courses" to the left or click Tech Lab Courses to see list.
 
Lab Activities:
 
Activities are like courses except that the only grade comes from completing an activity that requires their knowledge of what they have learned in the lesson and problem solving technique.
 
Activities are being designed as two week lessons and can be chosen like a course.  8th graders have made almost all of the Activities and were the initial reason why we started Activities.
 
Click on the link to the left or on this link, Tech Lab Activities to see the list.
 

View of the "new" Technology Lab. 

SOLs

Many of the lab's areas include Virginia SOL (Standards Of Learning) items in Math, Science, History, and English. The lab provides students with the "Perceived Purpose" of why they need to learn SOL subjects. They not only learn, they USE what they learn to do practical things and problem solve.

S.T.E.M. Career Cluster

STEM stands for "Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math". We are involving  our lab in this new direction by using these four disciplines to research, analyze, plan, create, solve, build, and test systems.  Collaboration with Math and Science classes is enhancing all of our curriculum.  Also we are proposing High School Engineering classes to further this Career Cluster.