ITTIP has been awarded a SCHEV grant, Problem-based Interdisciplinary STEM Learning (PISTEM), to provide professional development for 30 teachers from 10 school divisions beginning in July 2014 and continuing through the 2014-2015 school year. The grant will enable language arts, mathematics, science, CTE, and resource teachers to be part of a professional learning community throughout the school year beginning with a week-long workshop in July at Longwood University. Teams of teachers will explore research based instructional strategies that facilitate the development of interdisciplinary problem-based STEM learning lessons and activities. Hummingbird Robotics Kits will be used in creating PBL activities. Teachers will also participate in four webinars about literacy and mathematics integration with STEM. Ten school divisions chose to sign on as a partner and send teams of teachers: Bedford, Brunswick, Charlotte, Colonial Heights, Cumberland, Dinwiddie, Mecklenburg, Nottoway, Pittsylvania, Prince George.
SCHEV grants are awarded on a competitive basis from the State Council of Higher Education of Virginia and are part of Title II, Part A: Improving Teacher Quality State Grants.
Have you ever wondered, What is computational thinking? Although this term has been used for quite some time, since back in the day of Seymour Papert, it has predominately been practiced at the college level. For instance, Carnegie Mellon University has been running a program, Project Olympus PROBEs (PRoblem-Oriented Business Explorations) that focuses heavily on computational thinking, or problem solving through computer science techniques. Some of the student projects are amazing, as the program's goal is to augment and accelerate the process of moving basic research and ideas into the development of business stages and licensing. However, computational thinking has been quickly gaining recognition in the K-12 community as well, especially with the focus on STEM learning.
Recently, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) partnered up and collaborated on an operational definition of computational thinking, supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF). As an outcome of this collaboration, a computational thinking toolkit was created. The toolkit was created to help K-12 educators learn more about computational thinking and provides resources to help others become more of an advocate for this type of learning. The toolkit not only provides resources, such as, handouts, books, articles, animations, videos and presentations, but it also provides educators with an explanation of how to use and present the materials to students. Check out the toolkit today, and be an advocate for computational thinking for your students!
ITTIP hosted the 7th Annual STEM Summit on Thursday, January 30th. The theme was, MakersLearn. Dr. Mano Talaiver, director of ITTIP, set the stage for the summit with her presentation on what qualities are found in these makers, or inventive thinkers. Originally the Institute had Joey Hudy, as the first speaker. He was named “One of the Top 10 Smartest Kids on the Planet”, by Make magazine. However, he had to decline last minute as the President of the United States invited him to the State of the Union Address. This did not stop ITTIP from finding another outstanding maker to talk about his inventiveness. The Institute was lucky enough to have Tenith Adithyaa, a junior in high school from rural India, Skype in to talk to attendees about his Banana Leaves Technology. Tenith will be attending the International Science and Engineering Fair in the United States in April.
The attendees were then presented with more students talking about their STEM experiences. These were middle school students from Charlotte City and Albemarle County Public Schools. The students talked about their work and collaboration with UVA’s Dr. Glen Bull, Professor of Instructional Technology in the Curry School of Education. Both teachers and administrators also shared their views and observations during this initiative for recreating historical inventions with 3D printing.