Next Step Learning: Bridging Science Education and Cleantech Careers with Innovative Technologies
More than two thousand students in Massachusetts use innovative technologies such as infrared camera and engineering software to learn and practice science and engineering through improving energy efficiency and design solar solutions of their homes.
This project will create a science and engineering technology enhanced learning pathway from school to home that focuses on home energy efficiency. Students will have multiple opportunities to use what they learn about science and engineering in school to solve authentic real-world energy efficiency problems at home that could potentially lead to cleantech careers. A deeper understanding of science and engineering practices and learning how to apply what is learned in new settings contribute to energy efficiency, sustain power to millions of people, and help clean up the planet. Eight curriculum units will be jointly developed by school educators and industry partners to integrate science and engineering activities into existing school standards, instruction, and assessments. To help teachers prepare to implement these units, professional development will be designed to prepare teachers to actively guide students in the use of infrared cameras, sensors, simulations, and mixed-reality technologies. These technologies will help students visualize, investigate, and design invisible heat and mass flows in real and virtual worlds in real time as they make decisions about ways to conserve energy.
This strategies project will advance efforts to better understand and promote practices that increase students' motivations and capacities to pursue careers in fields of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics through the Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers program. More than 60 teachers and 2000 students from 10 socioeconomically diverse middle and high schools in Massachusetts will participate in the project. A mixed-methods research design will capture data about teacher adoption and use, showcase student learning and application, and highlight industry roles and responsibilities in the school to home learning pathway model. These data will measure the effectiveness of the model for improving learning outcomes about home energy efficiency as well as promote student interest and motivation in cleantech careers. This project will serve as a technology-enhanced model of an education and industry collaboration transferable to other communities and states.