A Laser Academy for High School Science Teachers
Sixty-six high school science teachers from the New York City Schools integrate photonics content into physical science lessons for 3,000 students during the school year and in summer sessions.
The Physics Department at Queensborough Community College runs the "Laser Academy for High School Science Teachers," building on the success of the "Laser Scademy for High School Students." Photonics—the study of optics, lasers and fiber optics —is a technical field where the shortage of qualified personnel is particularly acute. The Laser Academy for teachers will offer science teachers opportunities to learn about, experience and use information technologies within the context of photonics. The teachers will then integrate this content into their physical science lessons. The project will serve 22 high school science teachers each year for three years (a total of 66 teachers) as well as their students—estimated at more than 3,000 each year upon completion of the project. Activities include a three-week summer session (six to eight hours per day) to develop conceptual understanding of the theories underlying various IT-related technologies and to acquire competence in a variety of skills relevant to these fields (general optics, fiber optics, electronics, lasers, computers as tools, computer programming, robotics, remote control). Two day-long sessions will be devoted to educational research and best practices for teaching science. Additionally, there will be a week-long summer immersion program during which participants test the effectiveness of the learning modules they developed. (The summer immersion program will have a special focus on recruiting and training female students through the "Girl Tech" component of the proposal. Approximately 48 students will be recruited each summer.) College faculty will visit the schools on a regular basis (estimated at ten hours per participant) to help set up equipment and assist teachers with lesson planning and implementation; and an end-of-the-year conference where participants will meet to discuss their experiences in the program, what worked, and future activities.