Wheelock’s Earl Center for Learning and Innovation grew out of a philosophy that took root at Wheelock College in the 1970s. “We needed to provide our students and faculty with the tools and the space to engage with students–both our students here and students in the classrooms they’ll go to,” said Roy Schifilliti, Wheelock vice president for administration, institutional effectiveness, and innovation. “That started with manipulatives, the hands-on tools you really use for teaching and learning.” As technology began playing an increasingly important role in that teaching and learning, Wheelock realized it needed to provide a whole new range of resources in a modern space. That space is the Earl Center, which includes both traditional hands-on tools and an ever-evolving variety of new technology that can enhance and expand learning experiences.
Mare Parker-O’Toole, assistance director of the Earl Center, says the Center is on the cutting edge of education’s “makerspace” movement. “Here you have the original makerspace,” she said. “The crayons and paints, but you also have newer tools.” In its two years of operation, the Center has become a central part of campus life. “It’s where you come to socialize, to learn, to work together, and to play,” says Parker-O’Toole. “It’s where students want to be.”
“It’s where students want to be.”
Staff at the Center are always ready to help users navigate the constantly updating technology. Says Amanda Kalander ’16, who is majoring and Human Growth and Development, “I hold my meetings there because it’s a professional space where we can relax.” Agreed Heather Hunt ’17, who is majoring in Counseling Psychology, “The atmosphere is very relaxed and open. It’s a very welcoming environment.”
The Earl Center hosts technology workshops and exhibits and is available as a free resource to educators across Greater Boston.