CSTL projects

APS Foundation for STEM Schools in Arizona!

NSF Grant Advances Career and Educational Pathways in Geospatial Technology

Click here to download the NSF GEOCACHE Flyer

This collaborative project by Mesa Community College and Northern Arizona University is developing career and educational pathways in geospatial technology (GST) from secondary schools through two-year colleges and universities. Components include:

a) course and curriculum development that integrates GST and project-based learning as components of a broad range of courses within colleges and secondary schools.
b) sustained professional development and support for college faculty and secondary teachers to implement the curriculum.
c) increasing awareness of and training for GST-related careers through internships, outreach and industry involvement.

The curriculum is aligned with the Geospatial Technology Competency Model and informed by industry representation on the project's advisory board. The intellectual merit of the project lies in its comprehensive approach to infusing geospatial technology and data-processing and analytical skills within a pathway model aligned with workforce needs. Broader impacts include building technological and instructor capacity in GST within both urban and rural schools across the state, engagement of students from groups traditionally underrepresented in GST careers, and contributing to the development of the future GST workforce in Arizona.

To read more, visit http://news.nau.edu/nsf-grant-advances-career-and-educational-pathways-in-geospatial-technology/

The grant, titled “Powerful Engineering and Physical Science Ideas,” was awarded through the state’s Mathematics and Science Partnership. It became effective Sept. 25. For more information and to apply for Advanced GEOCACHE, visit http://www.mesacc.edu/departments/cultural-science/geographic-information-systems/advanced-professional-development


APS STEM Focus Schools for the Future program

In 2012, the APS Foundation launched an initiative to promote STEM Education with teachers in order to develop content knowledge in the STEM subjects as well as effective teaching techniques. The Center for Science Teaching and Learning, Northern Arizona University was awarded a grant for $250,000 grant for the APS STEM Focus Schools for the Future project as part of this initiative. The goal of the program is to establish twelve STEM-focused schools statewide and to enhance teacher preparation in STEM. Twenty-two public schools ranging from grades K-8 submitted applications expressing their vision for STEM.  The selected schools represent 6 counties across Arizona.

The principal and two teacher leaders from each school are working together to develop an action plan that will lead their school in STEM education. A STEM focus school will provide all learners with opportunities to engage in rich, robust, and rigorous STEM learning experiences that will develop skills needed to make informed personal, career, and civic decisions.

Each participating school receives a banner and a plaque designating them as an APS STEM Focus School for the Future and $1000 in support of STEM education. In addition, the two lead teachers from each school receive an iPad and 16 days (over 100 hours) of intensive professional development in leadership and STEM. The school principals attended the first session of professional development in January 2013. One educator commented on the January session, “There are more jobs, activities, lessons, tools that connect to STEM than we realize”, and another educator realized, “I see that we need to get more girl/minorities on board and keep those students on board and heading into STEM fields”.

Participating schools include the following:

Canyon Ridge School, Dysart Unified School District, Glassford Hill Middle School, Humboldt Unified School District, Seligman USD #40, Mount Elden Middle School, Flagstaff Unified School District, Casa Grande Middle School, Casa Grande Elementary SD #4, Holbrook Junior High School, Holbrook Unified School District #3, Freedom Elementary, Liberty Elementary School District #25, Rim Country Middle School, Payson Unified School District, Beaver Creek School, Beaver Creek School District, Canyon Springs School, Deer Valley School District, West Sedona Elementary, Sedona Oak Creek Unified School District, Copper Ridge School, and Scottsdale Unified School District.


The Powerful Engineering and Physical Science Ideas for Gilbert Public Schools

A collaborative partnership involving Northern Arizona University and Gilbert Public Schools has been awarded a $281,000 grant from the Arizona Department of Education to boost elementary school science education. The grant, titled “Powerful Engineering and Physical Science Ideas,” was awarded through the state’s Mathematics and Science Partnership. It became effective Sept. 25. After a period of classroom observations and content testing, 35 first- through fifth-grade teachers from 11 schools will participate in monthly professional development and a week-long summer institute guided by professor Kathy Eastwood and lecturer Ethan Dolle from NAU’s physics and astronomy department. The activities are intended to increase confidence levels in teaching science and show how well-structured scientific investigations can help lead to improved writing and critical thinking skills among students.

“We are excited to partner with Gilbert Public Schools to help them reach their goal of improving their science policies, programs and practice,” said Lori Rubino-Hare, professional development coordinator at NAU’s Center for Science Teaching and Learning.

“It is critical to provide elementary school children fun and engaging experiences with STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] early and to encourage students’ natural desire to investigate their worlds,” she said.

Rubino-Hare, who will work with teachers on implementing content strategies, said elementary school teachers often do not teach science because they lack content knowledge and confidence.“We hope to provide teachers fun experiences that increase their physical science content knowledge, resources and strategies for teaching through guided investigations, and thus increase their confidence in teaching science,” she said.

Amy Gingell, science coordinator for Gilbert Public Schools, added, “We don’t get a lot of opportunity to share this kind of training with elementary teachers. Physical science is just hard. It would be so nice to see the younger students have an opportunity to have their teachers feel better about it.”

According to Gingell and Rubino-Hare, funding may be obtained for a second year if the requirements of the grant are successfully completed.


HP Grant Awarded to ITTIP

InquiryGraphicITTIP is proud to announce their newest grant award for Inquiry and Design Learning Experiences for Adults as New Learners from the HP Catalyst Leadership fund. This international project will be a partnership with Northern Arizona University, Southside Virginia Regional Technology Consortium, Lady Doak College (India), Agastya International Foundation (India), Leo Matriculation School (India), University of South Hare (South Africa), Tshwane University of Technology (South Africa), and the Mozilla Foundation open badge projects.

The grant will provide support for creating three online teacher training modules. They will be designed to primarily train teachers in science pedagogy. The modules, which will be similar to massive open online courses (MOOC), will be offered beginning June 2013 and will accommodate up to 1,000 participants, most of whom are expected to be teachers. The impact is expected to influence 10,000 - 20,000 students around the world. One module will focus on how science and language arts teachers can develop inquiry skills. The other two modules will focus on Scratch - one will provide an introduction for K-4 teachers on using Scratch in the classroom on the beginner level, the other will be about how any teacher can introduce computer science concepts using Scratch. The grant will also make it possible to expand on an existing after-school program for students at Dinwiddie Country Middle School that involve working with Scratch and LilyPad Arduino. The face to face training for teachers will begin in early January for the LillyPad.

The project is expected to last two years and is ITTIP's second HP Catalyst Initiative grant. The first project, GIST which also involved international collaboration, began in 2010 an ended earlier this year. ITTIP is looking forward to begin implementation of this project with just as much success, if not more, than their previous HP Catalyst Initiative.

To view and join the open online courses click here.