Asee peer logo

Board # 31 : Work in Progress: FLEx—Iowa State University's Mobile Technology Classroom

Download Paper |


2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Work-in-Progress Posters: Computers in Education Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Tagged Topic


Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Pete M. Evans Iowa State University


Eric J. Schares Iowa State University Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Eric Schares is an Engineering & Physical Sciences Librarian at Iowa State University. He serves a liaison to the departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering. Eric has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State, and an MLIS from Rutgers University. Prior to his current role at Iowa State, he worked at Intel for 10 years as an array reliability engineer on NAND flash memory.

visit author page

Download Paper |


This proposal describes the efforts of the FLEx (Forward Learning Experience) program, a mobile classroom in a 16-foot trailer designed to deliver advanced technology outreach to schools around the state.

A joint effort of the university’s College of Design, College of Engineering, and Extension and Outreach, the FLEx has engaged 35,000 K-12 students, educators, and families over 99 events since the fall of 2014.

The trailer provides hands-on experiences with virtual reality, immersive visualization, prototyping, augmented reality through an Oculus Rift, interactive circuit building, a Makerbot for 3D printing, and a CNC (computer numerical control) router for complex precision material cutting. The FLEx utilizes learning theories such as constructivist, experiential and situational learning, universal design and game theory, and supports tinkering, play, and self-directed exploration. An early informal program review showed that Design and STEM interest among grades 3-8 increased 72% due to exposure to the FLEx. The FLEx is a groundbreaking program which improves a land-grant university’s potential to reach its state constituents in a novel and focused manner. The program has received national awards, recognition, and interest in its early and initial configuration.

Future work will partner with University Extension and 4-H to build capacity to provide this exposure and experience to all students across the state, with a particular focus on supporting rural students and underserved communities.

Research is ongoing and being formally proposed to show the educational benefits of the program through workshops and long-term positive outcomes in partnership with state-level educational task forces.

Evans, P. M., & Schares, E. J. (2017, June), Board # 31 : Work in Progress: FLEx—Iowa State University's Mobile Technology Classroom Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--27829

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2017 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015