RCBI awards technology, training to 30 W.Va. schools

In a first-of-its-kind program, the Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing has placing 3D printers and other technology in more than 30 middle and high schools across West Virginia to spur innovation among agricultural educators and students.

Each classroom received a free 3D printer, Raspberry Pi computer, an Arduino microcontroller kit and an array of electronic components that can interface with the Raspberry Pi and Arduino. RCBI also provided teachers with hands-on training in the use the technology and related software, and offered additional online resources. In addition, RCBI trained teachers how to adapt the technology for agricultural settings.

“By equipping classrooms with this innovative technology and the know-how to use it, we believe agriculture students across the state will apply these technologies to solve problems and create new opportunities in the agricultural sector,” said Bill Woodrum, director of entrepreneurship and coordinator of Agricultural Innovations at RCBI.

The pilot program is an expansion of RCBI’s Agricultural Innovations, an initiative that uses advanced technology to accelerate innovation in West Virginia agriculture. Funding is provided by the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, which recently awarded RCBI an additional $15,000 to help implement this new educational initiative.

Schools received the technology packages and teacher training June 19 during a gathering of state agricultural educators in Wetzel County. Officials with the West Virginia Department of Education identified the schools most likely to benefit from the new technology and training.

The schools and their counties are Berkeley Springs High; Morgan; Braxton County High, Braxton; Buckhannon-Upshur High, Upshur; Buffalo High School, Putnam; Calhoun County Middle/High, Calhoun;  Doddridge County High, Doddridge; East Hardy Early Middle, Hardy; East Hardy High, Hardy; Gilmer County High, Gilmer; Greenbrier East High, Greenbrier; Hampshire County High, Hampshire; Jefferson High School, Jefferson; Lewis County High School, Lewis; Liberty High, Harrison; Liberty High, Raleigh; Liberty High, Raleigh; Magnolia High, Morgan; Marion County Technical Center, Marion; Mercer County Technical Education Center, Mercer; Mineral County Technical Center, Mineral; Moorefield High, Hardy; Preston County High, Preston; Ravenswood High, Jackson; Ripley High, Jackson; Ritchie County High, Ritchie; Roane County High, Roane; Robert C. Byrd High, Harrison; Shady Spring High, Raleigh;  Shepherdstown Middle; Spring Valley High, Wayne; St. Mary’s High; Pleasants; Taylor County High, Taylor; Tygarts Valley High, Randolph; Tyler Consolidated High, Tyler; and Wood County Technical/Caperton Center, Wood.

For more information on RCBI’s Agricultural Innovations, contact Woodrum at 304.781.1670 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.