Launched in early 2020 to serve communities in Birmingham, Ed Farm is “…the signature program of TechAlabama, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization that seeks to encourage, inspire, and ignite children and adults to discover and explore technology, learn to code, and pursue STEM careers.”
Carrying out its mission to “…equip educators in schools and communities with innovative tools and strategies that support active learning for all students,” Ed Farm currently offers three programs. These include:
- “Pathways,” which is a free course for adult learners that teaches Apple’s “Swift” programming language as well as employability skills.
- A student fellows program that empowers middle and high-school students to, through participation in year-long, challenge-based learning experiences, actively solve real-world problems in their community.
- A teacher fellows program that identifies teachers in the community who are passionate about innovative teaching and learning strategies. Once the teachers are identified, those educators are equipped with resources and training to support active learning among their students.
Collaboration is central to many of Ed Farm’s programs. For the programs to achieve maximum effectiveness, Ed Farm’s education spaces need to foster collaboration while quickly adapting to constantly changing activities. This means that classroom furniture and accessories must be mobile, flexible, versatile, and easy to store when not in use.
Luxor donated the following furnishings:
- A pair of Adjustable Height Flip-Top Nesting Tables
- A 40” Mobile Presenters Station
- A Crank-Adjustable Flat Panel TV Cart
- A Mobile Double-Sided Magnetic Whiteboard
According to Ed Farm Program Director Chris McCauley, the Luxor educational products have integrated seamlessly into Ed Farm’s learning environments.
“The whiteboard and tables have helped us nurture collaboration and design thinking,” McCauley said. “The TV stand and presentation cart allow our instructors to be more engaged with our adult learners.”
Luxor recently sat down with McCauley to go into greater detail on how the Luxor school furniture is used for Ed Farm programs.
Luxor: Can you expand on what you said about nurturing collaboration and design thinking? Perhaps provide some details and/or specific examples?
CM: Ed Farm has hosted six professional learning experiences for Birmingham City School teachers at our HQ, and, during those experiences, we encourage teachers to collaborate and design classroom activities using coding and creativity curriculum. They often use the tables when exploring the apps and curriculum, and they use the whiteboards to outline activities, assessment strategies, and course of study standards.
Luxor: Can you describe in more detail how the lectern and TV stand assist your instructors?
CM: On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we host a course called Pathways for 20 adult learners. Through the course, adult learners engage with interactive learning experiences focused on Swift, Apple's programming language. The main instructor, Taylor Smith, uses the lectern for his MacBook and displays Keynote slides and live code-alongs on the TV which is mounted on the stand.
Luxor: Now that Ed Farm is up and running, you’ve had some time to put the products through their paces. Are there any impressions you’d like to share?
CM: Everything was extremely easy to assemble. We move the tables and TV stand quite a bit, and the process is extremely easy, the casters are very smooth.
Luxor: How’s durability been?
CM: We move everything around A LOT, and we've yet to see any wear and tear.
Luxor: What about the nesting tables? Has the flip-top capability proved useful?
CM: The nesting feature allows us to store the tables in our workroom when we're not using them. It's a phenomenal feature that allows us to be smart with our space.
Luxor: The Ed Farm learning space appears very sleek and modern. How do the Luxor products look in that sort of environment?
CM: Simple and clean. The furniture fits nicely with everything else (in) our new space.
Visit edfarm.org to learn more about Ed Farm’s programs.