Monday, June 8, 2009

NASA Grant Targets STEM Teachers

Georgia teachers will have the opportunity to hone their instructional skills in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) as a result of a $3 million NASA grant awarded to the Georgia Institute of Technology.

The Electronic Professional Development Network Grant is designed to help Georgia Tech, in tandem with Orbit Education, Inc., prepare, produce, deliver and evaluate NASA-related online courses, workshops and experiences for the benefit of STEM educators in Georgia and across the nation. Courses and workshops will emphasize best practices, incorporating inquiry learning, case-based scenarios and data analysis actively into the programs. Georgia Tech’s Distance Learning and Professional Education (DLPE) and Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing (CEISMC) will be the lead units on the project.

“This project will allow Georgia Tech to reach a community of educators, enabling them to better prepare the next generation of engineers and scientists while enhancing their own careers”, says Dr. Nelson Baker, vice provost for Distance Learning and Professional Education (DLPE).

The five-year project will utilize existing NASA products and data. CEISMC, Georgia Tech’s K-12 educational outreach center, regularly conducts teacher professional development workshops face-to-face with Georgia teachers.

“We are eager to translate these professional learning experiences into an electronic format”, says Dr. Marion Usselman, CEISMC senior research scientist. “This will enable us to reach teachers who otherwise don’t have access to STEM professional development and to help move towards a more environmentally sustainable model where teacher and staff developers aren’t required to drive long distances to effectively get together.”

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