EAST® (Environmental and Spatial Technology) is an educational model focusing on student-driven service projects accomplished by using teamwork and cutting-edge technology. The EAST classroom at Kiamichi Technology Center-Talihina is one of only four programs in the state of Oklahoma and is equipped with state-of-the-art workstations, servers, software and accessories, including GPS/GIS mapping tools, architectural and CAD design software, 3D animation suites, virtual reality development and more. Students identify problems in their local communities and then use these tools to develop solutions, collaborating with civic and other groups in the process.
The focus, however, is not on the technology itself, but on the unique learning environment of the EAST classroom, where students are responsible for creating their own project-based learning experience. There are no lectures and no tests. Instead, the students are guided by Carrie Kirkes, EAST facilitator trained in the EAST process. This radically different approach to learning yields tremendous results. Students are better-prepared for both college and the business world, and they care more about learning and serving their communities.
The EAST@KTC program in Talihina has completed projects such as GIS mapping of local cemeteries, implementing an anti-bullying program at elementary schools, assisting local Chamber of Commerce with promotional materials for civic activities, and cleaning up a local city park. Students are not only learning valuable technology skills, they are also learning excellent communication and presentation skills as they become active participants in their communities.