The Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) Program: Teachers Developing the Next Generation of STEM Talent
This introduction to the JTATE special issue on the National Science Foundation Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) sets the context for the six articles that follow. The ITEST program is designed to discover and disseminate best practices for developing the next generation of STEM talent. Now in its seventh year, ITEST “responds to current concerns and projections about the growing demand for professionals and information technology workers in the U.S. and seeks solutions to help ensure the breadth and depth of the STEM workforce” (National Science Foundation, 2009) by engaging students, teachers, and other educators in compelling, authentic, technology-based STEM activities and learning environments. This introduction summarizes how the six articles describe specific ITEST teacher development projects, provide portraits of these projects, and address important themes that cross ITEST professional development and STEM professional development more generally: building links between informal and formal education; using technology in innovative ways; integrating STEM content into professional development; reaching and engaging underrepresented populations; developing innovative professional development; and tightening the research/practice cycle.
This article is part of a special issue of the Journal of Technology and Teacher Education (JTATE).