KIETS Trustees Dr. Betsy Bennett and Dr. Charles Coble serve on the board of Kidzu, a children’s museum located in Chapel Hill, NC. With their leadership and guidance, Kidzu has developed a plan for a museum for the 21st century – rooted in ongoing learning research, which will serve to help develop a productive and innovative next generation of North Carolinians. Museum educators, in partnership with university researchers, will develop robust research projects to study informal learning within the physical and virtual campuses. Research findings will enable a better understanding of how children at varying ages and with varying abilities learn through informal, out-of-school experiences.
In February, 2022, on the facilitation of KIETS, Kidzu leadership toured the NC State D.H. Hill Library and visited virtual learning and maker spaces to ideate about possible uses and collaboration for NCCM. They met with Adam Rogers (Head of Making & Innovation Studio; Learning Spaces & Services), Marian Fragola (Director of Community Engagement), and David Woodbury (Head of Learning Spaces & Services). Kidzu leadership has established a 20-person advisory council that consists of leading early childhood researchers from neighboring universities, social service providers, and other experts. Several prototype programs and sessions will be developed throughout Summer 2022 to develop the operational framework. Jamie DeMent Holcomb was named the permanent Executive Director in April 2022 and has been working to secure planning funds for the NC Children’s Museum (NCCM). Also, Charlotte Dungan was named Director of Digital Learning and Innovation to build the groundwork for a statewide learning metaverse.