The full name of E.A.S.T., a project that originated in Greenbrier, Arkansas in mid 1995.

The purpose of the program is to allow schools to work with industry leaders in areas of various technical specialties, and acquire equipment and high end software at low cost.

The project, which now covers schools throughout Arkansas, has spread to Louisiana, Mississippi, area schools in Chicago, has reached Hawaii, and is making inroads and starting up in Europe.

One of the first partners of the project was Intergraph Corp. which provided computers and many of their software products, including Smartsketch and Geomedia.

Another was Wellsco Graphics, a graphics hardware and software supply company based in Jonesboro, Arkansas. They handle most of the purchasing requirements of the labs, from buying new computers (No new labs get Intergraphs anymore), software, and hardware.

Labs come to a school all at once. At the beginning of a school year, a set of 10-20 computers, monitors, boxes of software, and the like, will all arrive at the same time (approximately), and will be given to the "Facilitator", the "teacher" of the class1.

Usually, the facilitator has some experience with the software and hardware, but more often than not is rather clueless2. In this way, dependency on the teacher is not effective, which causes the students to learn how to solve the problems on their own3.

The hardware and software given to labs, at an incredibly low price include a lot of high end programs. Such programs include Softimage|3D, XSI, Bentley Systems' Microstation/J, Solid Edge, Microsoft Products4, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Premiere, Intergraph Smartsketch, Trimble Systems GPS Units, and excellent Dell workstations.

As of last year, the E.A.S.T. Project has held a conference annually at the Little Rock Convention Center, in Little Rock, Arkansas, where schools around the state/country (soon) come to show their projects, and work over the year. Awards are given to the most intriguing projects5, and past winners include a telescope built using designs created and animated in softimage|3d, a "virtual school", done by some students at my school, that involved taking the 2D plans for the school and recreating them in Microstation.

More information on the E.A.S.T. Project can be found at

1. The faciliator is often some unsuspecting teacher, usually someone whose current class has computers, or has very little to do. Misassignment has often lead to devastating effects on labs of some schools

2. As a result of lack of education. The teachers are given optional informal courses, but often they're not enough. Coincidentally, they inform the teacher enough to be worried at the complexity, and hinder lab progress, afraid students may abuse it. Fortunately, this is an infrequent occurance.

3. Supervision though, must be maintained. Given half a second, most students would sooner play games, or fire up napster, as a lot of these labs (mine included) have T1 lines.

4. This is my major bone of contention. A lot of the major people in the project are very pro-microsoft (the mcse microsoft-or-die kind). As such, 90% of everything is VB/VC++/IIS stuff. All labs run Windows NT of some form, unless (like me) one takes the initiative to get OTHER stuff in there. When one of the lead EAST guys heard we were running linux, he almost had a heart attack. All in all it's a good program, but I think diversity in technologies is necessary. This includes from GPS to Modeling, and even operating systems.

5. I think they just look for flash, but my facilitator says they look for community service, and that the students got something out of it. Often I think students just get the software out of it.