Global Innovation in Science and Technology (GIST & GIST-ED)

Project Period:  January 2011 – Spring  2014

Target Audience:  Middle School Teachers and Students

Funding Source: HP Catalyst Grant

Funding Amount:  $151,420 (GIST), $43,416 (GIST-IED), $100,000 (New Learners)

Longwood’s Institute for Teaching through Technology & Innovative Practices (ITTIP) was awarded a Catalyst Initiative Social Innovation Program from HP to foster global collaboration among educational institutions through the New Learner Consortium to explore global innovation in science and technology.  As a member of the new HP Catalyst “New Learner” consortium, Longwood ITTIP is part of an elite cohort that will be exploring what the future of STEM+ learning and teaching can be.

Global Innovation in Science and Technology (GIST) of ITTIP provides opportunities for ten Virginia teachers and their students to collaborate with their peers in Ghana and India to investigate STEM principles and develop inventive-thinking, communication, and collaborative problem-solving while working in small collaborative groups. Teachers are prepared to integrate inquiry-based and project-based learning strategies (pedagogical-knowledge) using probes, games, models, and simulations (technological-knowledge) while enhancing their understanding of STEM integration in teaching content (content-knowledge) in classrooms. The project is using ELGG, a social networking engine, among the project participants to share files and collaborate on global issues.

As part of the program, HP is donating $6 million to 35 educational institutions, including Longwood ITTIP, across five consortia that will use the award to explore innovations in STEM+ learning and teaching. This builds on the Obama Administration’s “Educate to Innovate” coalition designed to improve national outcomes in STEM subject matters.  Details of the HP Catalyst initiative includes:

  • Creating five global consortia in 2010, each focusing on a specific innovation theme for transforming STEM education.
  • A focus on five themes: approaches to teacher preparation, online education, using technology to measure learning outcomes, and engaging students in global, collaborative learning experiences.

The member organizations were selected through an open and competitive global call for proposals. Eligibility was based on two principal criteria: status as an accredited educational institution (that is, schools, colleges, universities, as well as nonprofit or nongovernmental educational organizations) and country of location. Eligible countries for 2010 included Brazil, China, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Kenya, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The new Global Consortium institutions that will be leading the five HP Catalyst consortia include Carnegie Mellon University, the Sloan Consortium, FutureLab (UK), the CSIR Meraka Institute (South Africa) and the Agastya International Foundation (India).  “Longwood ITTIP with its partner, Southside Virginia Regional Technology Consortium received the Governor’s Technology Award in September 2010 for creating collaborative learning communities. The HP Catalyst grant provides opportunities for expanding collaborative learning communities globally. Working with HP and joining the Catalyst Initiative has been a real game changer for our students and teachers. They’re given the resources to come up with new ideas, collaborate globally and challenge traditional ways of thinking. We’re really excited about the future possibilities a network like this can create,” Talaiver said.  As Vice President of the Office of Global Social Innovation, HP, Gabi Zedimayer states,  “The HP Catalyst Initiative underscores our vision of a world where innovation and collaboration are enabled by investments in technology and education. The program is designed to help foster potential solutions to society’s most critical challenges by educating and nurturing leaders that will be critical in ensuring we develop new communities and find new ways of doing things.“

The HP Catalyst Initiative is in the process of  building a global network of consortia that is attempting to develop more effective approaches to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. The goal is to create international collaborative “sandboxes” of innovation that will explore what the future of STEM education can look like—a future where students use their technical and creative ingenuity to address urgent social challenges in their communities and around the world. More information is available at:

A continuation of the GIST project was awarded to ITTIP, thereby funding the second portion, GIST-IED. During this round of funding, the focus was on a pilot program for girls and introducing programming of microcontrollers through the use of the LilyPad controllers. This project also integrated design along with the technology.  In addition to this local projects, ITTIP staff also conducted training on inquiry-based learning and technology in South Africa, Ghana, and India.

A second continuation of the GIST project was also awarded to ITTIP, thereby funding the third portion, Inquiry and Design Learning Experiences for Adults an Teens as New Learners.  This funding focus is after school implementation with students of Scratch and LilyPad.  Three Massive Open Online Classes (MOOC) was also funded in addition to ITTIP staff conducting training on inquiry-based learning and technology in New Zealand with girls.  Dissemination of research findings will be in March 2014.

Related Resources

Videos: GIST, GIST-ED, New Learners, Kodu Tutorials, LilyPad Tutorials, New Zealand Student
Grant Announcement, ITTIP December 2012/January 2013 Newsletter,  ITTIP February 2013 Newsletter ITTIP May 2013 Newsletter, Travel to NZ and AUConference Review
Website: GIST Homepage, MOOCs
Lessons:  Student Wiki, Teacher Wiki, Kodu, LilyPad