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Learning to Teach STEM: Teachers Bring Back New Knowledge to Their School

| Dr. Katie Klinger

This is the second part of a three-part entry. Read part one.

In Hawaii, there will be eighty hours of training at science, technology, engineering, and math institutes during the school year. At these institutes, university professors will guide teachers in how to scale STEM projects to the appropriate grade level. The institutes will employ middle school math and science benchmarks and standards from the Hawaii Content and Performance Standards as the basis for what to cover.

The power of these institutes and the Sally Ride Science Camps is that they build awareness about the need to integrate STEM and Web 2.0 technologies in the classroom. They also reveal how important STEM is to Hawaiians if they are to act as caretakers of these sacred islands.

In fall 2008 and summer 2009, there will be an assessment survey to find out what teachers need in the way of Web 2.0 technology skill sets. This intensive phase of the program includes teacher institutes, with grant partners in attendance.

These events include a one-day fall 2008 institute on using ISS EarthKAM, a program sponsored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration that offers photographs taken from space; a two-day winter 2009 institute that focuses on integrating Web 2.0 tools in the classroom; a two-day spring 2009 institute in which teachers will interact with local STEM professionals in the mornings and design imaginary STEM careers in the afternoons; a five-day summer 2009 institute with hands-on geographical-information-system and global-positioning-system (GIS/GPS) mapping fieldwork; and a Sally Ride Science Camp in summer 2009 to raise awareness of STEM in Hawaii.

Teachers, working with community mentors and grant partners in the institutes and at other meetings, will explore how to apply Web 2.0 technology tools and their new STEM skills to support content in the physical, earth, and ocean sciences. In addition, teachers will learn in the summer institute how to do GIS/GPS mapping of local community heritage sites in uncharted valleys of the Wai'anae Moku.

One grant partner brings ocean-conservation activities with local scientists from the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, on Coconut Island, as well as celestial-navigation and sustainability learning opportunities with Nainoa Thompson and his sailboat, the Hokulea. Teacher-generated projects around mapping the Wai'anae Moku will be published in a public domain e-book hosted on the Kamaile Academy's Web site. Hands-on fieldwork in GIS/GPS, led each day by a kupuna, or elder -- a local Wai'anae archaeologist, a GPS/GIS expert, community mentors, or grant partners -- will provide the content for the e-book.

At Kamaile, teachers will also participate in an after-school professional-learning community as follow-up to the institutes. Teams of teachers will meet monthly to discuss and review the relevance of the current STEM topics they're teaching in the classroom. This will also be the time to identify and select new topics to integrate into their STEM hands-on projects with the aid of their mentors, university professors, and scientists. Two mentors will be available to teachers in the monthly meetings, either face-to-face or via Skype videoconferencing.

What do you think of this initiative? Please share your thoughts, and check back for the third part of this entry.

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Teacher Agent of Change, Power of US Foundation

STEM has come of age

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I first started teaching it back before some of you were born . It was called SMET and the National Council of Mathematic Teachers convened a symposium at Clear Lake, in Texas to start us off on thinking about it
Four years ago at SITE, a teacher /professor asked me what kind of flower it was, this STEM.

The business and industry council has brought forward some examples and is seeking funding to spread the news. The NGA, and other groups beyond the Convocation on the Gathering Storm have continued to push by talking to Congress, and the deaf ear is now listening.

It's not fun to be a pioneer but it is great to see the ideas finally take hold and create a difference.

Bonnie Bracey Sutton

The primary purpose of USAID

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The primary purpose of USAID is to implement long-term overseas economic and development assistance. The agency also provides humanitarian relief following disasters and seeks to support the democratization of other nations economies. The United States Agency for international shared hosting development is an independent federal agency, although the secretary of state broadly oversees its work. USAID is responsible for supporting long term economic growth in developing countries through projects in agriculture, democracy and governance, economic growth, natural-resources management, education and training, and health. In 2008, USAID awarded about $4 billion in federal contracts and grants to American businesses and citizens. This money allowed the sharepoint hosting businesses to administer technical assistance projects and to purchase and distribute commodities and equipment. USAID works through nearly four thousand American companies and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). USAID traces its roots to various attempts by the U.S. Congress to address the needs of other nations for military, economic, political, and social stability. The first attempt was the 1948 Marshall Plan, which aided in the reconstruction of Europe after World War II. Successive attempts to create a U.S. international development organization included the Mutual Security Agency in 1951, the Foreign Operations Administration in 1953, the International Cooperation Administration and the Food for Peace program in 1954, and the Development Loan Fund in 1957. Support by the American public for foreign aid had lagged dramatically by the late 1950’s, owing in part to the 1958 publication of The Ugly American by Eugene Burdick and William Lederer. This novel described arrogant American aid workers in Southeast Asia, and it negatively influenced public perception of aid workers and diplomats generally. This and other issues prompted Congress and the ftp hosting administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower to refocus U.S. aid toward developing nations, and the subject became important in the 1960 U.S. presidential campaign. John F. Kennedy became president in 1961 with the promise to repair America’s image in the world, and he made foreign assistance a high priority. Kennedy said that the U.S. response to the world’s poorest nations was inadequate and that it was vitally important that the United States and other industrialized nations help less developed nations become economically self-sufficient.

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