A MULTI Approach to Engaging Students and Teachers in Effective STEM Education
This project will advance efforts of the Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program to better understand and promote practices that increase students' motivations and capacities to pursue careers in fields of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) by implementing a strategy that purposefully combines educational methodologies based on the Global Learning and Observation to Benefit the Environment program. This effort will address the need to prepare and inspire up to 6500 students to become interested and motivated in STEM fields and careers. Students will have opportunities to increase their knowledge and skills in earth system sciences topics by engaging in authentic online local and global activities; collaborating with peers on data-driven research projects, and interacting with scientists and mentors in face-to-face settings. Pre-service and in-service teachers will participate in summer institutes, academic year workshops, and in-class sessions to learn about and use pedagogies that will help them attract and retain more students in education pathways to STEM careers. These professional growth opportunities will be led by university faculty members, content and evaluation experts, STEM professionals, industry and workforce development specialists and professional education organization consultants. The goal is to modify and refine a community-based model that will comprehensively address teacher preparedness and student participation in STEM fields.
The project will use a mixed method design to collect data about goals specific to K-12 students' level of awareness and interest in STEM careers, motivation to pursue the education necessary for these careers, improvement in 21st century skill development, and acquisition of STEM content knowledge through collaborative technology practices. Pre-post surveys, observations, interviews, and artifacts from in-person and online collaboration will be used to capture data about the influence of project activities on students and teachers. Project outcomes will include the development of curriculum units that employ technology-driven project-based collaboration; embody intercultural competence, and promote the understanding of content knowledge in the earth sciences as well as 21st Century workforce skills. Outcomes will also include teacher professional development processes and material for preparing teachers to deliver these technology-based STEM units that will impact more than 20 metropolitan area school districts that will be reached through this effort. Beyond dissemination to partnering school districts, project results will also be disseminated at national and regional meetings and conferences such as the National Science Teachers Association, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and the American Educational Research Association. Publications will also be submitted to peer-reviewed and practitioner journals. Project partners including the GLOBE Implementation Office, University of Colorado at Boulder's Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, Community College of Denver, University of New Hampshire, Open World Learning, and the Colorado Workforce Development Council will promote and disseminate results through their distribution and communication channels. Social media, especially those geared towards educators, will be utilized to promote project outcomes to appropriate groups in the educational community.