This project will reach over 600 students and 30 teachers in grades 10 and 11, focusing on green technology and careers using hands-on study of the school and surrounding community.
GreenTECH is a three-year project focusing on green technology and careers at the high school level. Partners are: Solar One, a Green Energy Arts and Education Center; MOUSE (Making Opportunities for Upgrading Schools & Education), a youth development program that prepares young people to serve as technology experts; the Wallerstein Collaborative for Urban Environmental Education at New York University, and the New York City Department of Education (DOE). Over three years, the GreenTECH model will reach over 600 students and 30 teachers in grades 10 and 11, and will combine the successful methodology of the Solar One Green Design Lab program with the highly effective approach of MOUSE Technical Squads. GreenTECH is a program that engages students in creating sustainable school buildings. Students develop solutions and recommendations to sustainability issues, and develop workforce skills through participation in MOUSE Technical Squads. Students who successfully complete the program earn a Specialist Badge in sustainable technology. This project uses: hands-on study of the school and surrounding community; intensive technical training of high school students along with development of youth led projects; career development and planning for technology careers, particularly in green industries; and professional development for teachers. The GreenTech curriculum introduces students to real-world career skills designed to meet environmental challenges such as water infrastructure, sustainable architecture, and solar design. Two theoretical frameworks guide the program: Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT) and place-based education. Project-based activities with a strong design component engage students and teachers in the construction of solutions that require knowledge of the science concepts and how technology can be used to address environmental problems. Place-based education is fundamental to the GreenTech curriculum, as it uses the school building as the unit of study. The Greentech curriculum employs design-thinking strategies and creative problem solving to address the need for improving energy efficiency and sustainability in school buildings. Students use their newly acquired STEM skills to solve local environmental challenges in their school and community. The curriculum then connects these STEM skills to career pathways, with the intent of preparing students for emerging green STEM jobs. GreenTECH has the following goals: 1) impacting students' understanding, knowledge, and decisions about pursuing STEM careers; 2) increasing self-efficacy and decisions about future STEM education and careers through place-based lessons; and 3) increasing students' interest and motivation in pursuing future STEM education and careers. GreenTECH is an important model for enhancing students' STEM skills and enthusiasm for STEM-related careers and will: increase students' knowledge, skills, and persistence with respect to the technologies, careers, and STEM content of renewable energy and sustainable design; build young people's capacity to serve as specialists in the technologies essential to sustainable design; create leadership roles for young people to use those technologies at their school site; and test whether a strategy that uses the school building and its environs as the focus for learning leads to increased interest and persistence in STEM.