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99-96

For Release: December 10, 1999

Barbara L. Kakiris
NASA Glenn Research Center
(Bus: 216/499-2513)

Lori J. Rachul
NASA Glenn Research Center
(Bus: 216/433-8806)



NASA Glenn Introduces a New Era in Education

A futuristic, state-of-the-art educational experience begins today at NASA Glenn Research Center with the unveiling of its newest Aeronautics Educational Laboratory (AEL). The AEL will open the skies to students as they explore the world of math and science using the latest computer technology.

"This Aeronautics Educational Lab is the result of Administrator Goldin’s vision and ability to energize NASA employees to stretch themselves and make things happen to benefit our national and international community," said Glenn Center Director Donald J. Campbell.

An AEL is a state-of-the-art classroom, utilizing ten unique workstations that provide an educational setting for students and teachers to participate in various future-oriented scenarios using NASA programs as themes. In addition, Glenn’s AEL will also serve as a technology development center for new scenarios and field testing new equipment.

The present AEL scenario involves participants in designing an aircraft and completing a cross-country flight. Coming soon will be a scenario where participants learn about microgravity that includes a virtual reality docking with the International Space Station.

"Our goal is to inspire students and educators in the areas of math, science and technology so that they may reach their full potential as we enter into the 21st century," said John H. Hairston, director of External Programs at Glenn. "AEL is a leap in classroom computer technology that puts cutting-edge technology in the hands of students."

"Within a few years, we hope to see hundreds of AELs linked together through distance learning, joint missions and simulations creating a totally new educational experience," said Dr. R. Lynn Bondurant, AEL project director.

AELs are modeled after the highly successful Mobile Aeronautics Education Laboratory (MAEL), which was created through a partnership between Glenn and Cuyahoga Community College and was dedicated in 1996. Since that time, the MAEL has traveled coast-to-coast visiting schools, museums and participating in conferences. The demand for MAEL visits exceeded its availability, leading to the creation of permanent AELs at multiple sites so that students and teachers can be directly involved in real science and technology.

The AEL will support Glenn’s Office of Educational Programs and Visitor Center endeavors to foster enthusiasm in school-age children for science, mathematics and technical fields.

More information about the Aeronautics Educational Laboratory or the Mobile Aeronautics Education Laboratory program may be found at: http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/MAEL


 

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