New Lab open at NCCAT Cullowhee campus | NCCAT

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New Lab open at NCCAT Cullowhee campus

The new Lab addition to the NCCAT experience gives teachers the opportunity to be students themselves as they actively engage in their learning.

CULLOWHEE – Teachers can collaborate and work on hands-on, creative projects in the new Lab at NCCAT's Cullowhee campus. 

Transforming the computer lab into a Makerspace lab involved a group effort with NCCAT's Pete Kesselring, Operations and System Analyst, Chief Academic Officer Dr. Karen Sumner, and NCCAT Senior STEM Innovator Darcy Grimes. The group spent a year researching innovative spaces in schools and universities in order to create a flexible learning space where teachers PreK-12 could collaborate on creative projects. 

"The only thing that the new Lab and the traditional computer lab have in common is  the same four walls," Grimes said with a smile. "With the 1:1 movement and the easy accessibility of smartphones, there isn't a need for a traditional computer lab with desktops.  We want our teachers to experience a learning environment that engages and motivates them to not only continue learning but also create innovative lessons and environments for their students." 

The Lab has all new furniture (whiteboard nesting tables and Ed Tables) and a new Promethean Board. All of the furniture is on wheels.

"The moveable furniture allows for flexible seating in the room and easy set up for many different lessons," Grimes said.

Some additional items  included in the Lab are: 2 Jelly Box 3D Printers, different types of robots that can be programmed and used for grades Pre-K through 12th, a First Lego League table, and materials for Augmented, Virtual, and Mixed Reality projects.

Teachers first used the Lab during "STEAM in the PreK/K Classroom" in Cullowhee led by Grimes on June 11-14. Evaluations from teachers were very positive about the lab, and several individuals reached out via social media sharing their excitement about the Lab. This new addition to the NCCAT experience gives teachers the opportunity to be students themselves as they actively engage in their learning.


Increasing teacher effectiveness is fundamental to improving public education. NCCAT provides teachers with new knowledge, skills, teaching methods, best practices and information to take back to their classrooms. For more information about NCCAT’s professional development programs, visit or call 828-293-5202.

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Direct inquires to: Todd Vinyard Public Communications Specialist 828-293-5202 ext. 1219 [email protected]

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