Noel Studio Helps Local Teen Task Force with Upcoming Presentation

Photo from Task Force at Noel Studio

When she first learned of Eastern Kentucky University’s Noel Studio for Academic Creativity, Vickie Moberly began to envision the collaborative possibilities between EKU and local schools.

Once Moberly, EKU’s Educational Extension Agent for Madison County, saw the state-of-the-art campus facility and began to discuss possibilities with Noel Studio Director Dr. Rusty Carpenter, “I think we both knew we had the opportunity for a unique, creative collaboration between secondary and higher education.”

On Friday, April 15, that dream was realized when 30 high school juniors and seniors who comprise the Madison County Superintendent Task Force spent a day at the Studio, polishing an upcoming presentation and, more importantly, getting an early glimpse today into what their workplace and career might one day resemble.  

Before they arrived on the EKU campus, the Task Force students had completed a significant amount of research toward their presentations on technology and mentoring, which are scheduled for delivery to the Madison County Board of Education in May, Moberly noted. “Some of the work was already in writing and had been discussed orally, but was not finalized in presentation form. The goal for this collaboration was to take the work the students had already completed and move it through a developmental process that integrates research, written and oral communication, and technology to create effective presentations for each work group.”

Carpenter said the Noel Studio experience gave the high school students the opportunity to:

·         receive feedback on their communication pieces before they are presented in front of a live audience;

·         explore emerging technologies that will be useful in their communication design process while looking at the ways in which the technologies complement and extend their array of options; and

·         hone important teamwork skills in order to effectively communicate as a group.

Moberly said the experience for the Task Force students is “value-added in terms of new learning beyond that required to successfully complete the charge of the original task. Even though students communicate in a variety of ways on a daily basis, the Studio takes an integrated approach to research, writing, speaking, and multi-modal technology that is unique not only for high school students, but for university faculty and students as well.”

The Noel Studio, located in the John Grant Crabbe Library, embodies EKU’s Quality Enhancement Plan, which calls for the University to develop informed, critical and creative thinkers who communicate effectively. The facility features a variety of spaces that allow students to develop their communication skills through critical and creative thinking: invention spaces where ideas are born, presentation practice rooms, a presentation suite for delivering and refining oral communication, breakout spaces for spontaneous collaborative group work or creative work with manipulatives, conference space for networking with colleagues on campus and remotely along with practicing and capturing group dynamics, and a discovery classroom for orientations, guest speakers, conferences, and instruction sessions.

“The Studio itself is a non-traditional learning environment designed to inspire invention, innovation, collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving, and information, communication and technology literacy, all of which are 21st Century skills,” Moberly said. “In a very real sense, it gives the students an opportunity to experience what their typical work day might look like in the near future.”

Carpenter said examples of such community engagement are “important for any university. This provides opportunities for staff members on the university side to learn from members of the community and for us to provide services that support the development of effective communicators in our surrounding areas. Through this partnership, high school students learn about what it means to be college students and, in particular, students on a creative campus like EKU.

“EKU students in general, and Noel Studio consultants specifically, will be leaders within the community upon graduation,” Carpenter added. “Community-university partnerships, like ours with the Teen Task Force, promote the importance of effective communication in the development of leadership skills. The communication design process, facilitated by critical and creative thinking, becomes empowering for participants on both sides.”

Moberly said the goals of this year's task force are to:

·         formalize the process of transitioning student voice into student action;

·         increase student leadership skills through interactive training and conversation with community leaders; and

·         develop action plans for issues implementation including presentation to an authentic audience.

“This partnership is a great example of how universities and local schools can work together to create a project that is beneficial and satisfying to all,” Moberly said.

For more information about the Noel Studio, visit www.studio.eku.edu.

Published on April 15, 2011