2. Campus Projects to Improve STEM Teacher Training and Professional Development Quality
- Entrepreneurial Leadership in STEM Teaching & Learning (EnLiST)
- Girls Adventures in Mathematics, Engineering and Science (G.A.M.E.S.)
- Institute for Chemistry Literacy through Computational Science (ICLCS)
- Project NEURON (Novel Education for Understanding Research on Neuroscience)
- SI2-SSI: A Productive and Accessible Development Workbench for HPC Applications Using the Eclipse Parallel Tools Platform
National Science Foundation
Award # 0831820
Mats Selen, Patricia Shapley, Fouad Abd-El-Khalick, Raymond Price, Dorland Norris
Physics, Chemistry, Curriculum & Instruction, Engineering, Champaign Unit 4
Science teacher doing hands-on project during EnLiST summer professional development.
The Entrepreneurial Leadership in STEM Teaching & Learning (EnLiST) Partnership is comprised of Thornton High School District #205, South Holland, IL; Champaign Unit 4 School District, Champaign, IL; and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which serves as the lead among these core partners. In addition, the following are supporting partners: the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA), IMSA-affiliated school districts, and Thornton elementary and middle school feeder districts. EnLiST intends to develop and build the infrastructural elements necessary to sustain a state-wide Illinois community of highly qualified science Teacher Leaders who will effectively contribute to the transformation of science teaching and learning throughout the K-12 educational continuum in their districts. EnLiST will achieve these goals through a combination of intensive summer institutes and year-round professional development and collaborative activities. The synergy and continuity of these efforts will be ensured through establishment of an on-line community capitalizing on robust technological tools and infrastructure. EnLiST will commence with the development of core cadres of high school chemistry and physics Teacher Leaders organized into district teams. Next, the partnership will support and scaffold the activities of these core cadres as they engage in developing a cadre of middle school and elementary specialist science Teacher Leaders in their school districts. The activities of this latter participant group will focus on an interdisciplinary approach to science teaching and learning in elementary and middle school. Data collection and use will be a central theme in the development of Teacher Leaders and project operation as a whole.
The innovation of EnLiST is its intent to reconceptualize the very notion of a “Teacher Leader” by drawing on scholarship in the field of social and entrepreneurial leadership and theories of distributed leadership. EnLiST aims to create a new generation of Teacher Leaders who, armed with cutting-edge content knowledge, a strong pedagogical repertoire, and entrepreneurial spirit, can support their colleagues and transform their schools into responsive and data-driven institutions of teaching and learning. EnLiST will provide participant science Teacher Leaders with understandings, skills, attitudes, and habits of mind enabling them to perceive themselves, and to act, as agents of change. The entrepreneurial leadership skills that will be developed will arm these Teacher Leaders to meet the many challenges faced by teachers in the current US K-12 educational milieu, including dealing with resource constraints, uncertainty, and multiple goals often related to internally desired and externally imposed demands for change and innovation. They will be equipped to meet the challenges and tensions that have often impeded the adoption of innovative curricula and pedagogies and transformation of K-12 science instructional practices in service of addressing increasingly diverse student population needs.
The major research questions of the project will center on understanding and assessing the development of the target Teacher Leaders and the success of those leaders in transforming their own teaching. The ultimate aim is to develop a scalable national model for the preparation of social and entrepreneurial science Teacher Leaders who act as strong champions and effective initiators and implementers of change in pre-college science teaching and learning. The EnLiST research questions are: (a) What is the impact, if any, of the project's activities on participant Teacher Leaders' conceptions, attitudes, skills, and behaviors related to social and entrepreneurial leadership? (b) What is the nature of the perceived organizational culture in partner school districts in relation to barriers to, and encouragement of, innovation and change? What are the associated roles of Teacher Leaders and school administrators? (c) What is the differential impact, if any, of enhanced social and entrepreneurial leadership among Teacher Leaders on effecting innovation and change in science teaching and learning in partner school districts?
G.A.M.E.S. participants working in lab.
University of Illinois / Urbana, Illinois – Girls Adventures in Mathematics, Engineering, and Science (G.A.M.E.S) Summer Camp is an annual week-long residential camp designed to give academically talented middle school girls an opportunity to explore math, science, and engineering careers through demonstrations, classroom presentations, hands-on activities, and contact with women in these technical fields.
The core partners of the Institute for Chemistry Literacy and Computational Science (ICLCS) are the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (including the Department of Chemistry, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, and the College of Medicine), A-C Central Community Unit School District #262, and Regional Office of Education (ROE) #38. Supporting partners include four rural ROEs (55, 3, 25, & 11) located in the northwestern, west-central, south-central, and far south sections of Illinois, the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs, Illinois Petroleum Resources Board, Illinois Science Teachers Association, National Center for Rural Health Professions, Three Rivers Educational Partnership, the National Board Resource Center at Illinois State University, and Argonne National Laboratory. The program intends to improve student achievement by developing 120 rural Illinois 9th-12th grade chemistry teachers to become Teacher-Leaders equipped to teach and lead based on cutting-edge research, computational methods of visualization and communication, and extensive leadership development experiences.
ICLCS has identified the following goals: (1) strengthen rural high school teachers' and students' understanding of chemistry within the context of 21st Century scientific research; (2) increase teachers' use of, and comfort with, computational and visualization tools in their teaching; (3) create a cadre of 9th-12th grade and university-level faculty teacher-leaders who will become advocates for excellence in science education; and (4) promote institutional change in university and school district partners. The Institute features two-week residential sessions in three successive summers with extensive academic year online support, two academic-year regional meetings, and academic-year on-line interaction among partners and participants. Central to the Institute are: the use of computational methods to describe molecular behavior, including internet-based molecular visualizations; the establishment of an on-line community of participants and project staff via Access Grid (AG) communications technology and Moodle, a course development tool, as a means of fostering comfortable, mutually beneficial on-going interchanges about chemistry content and pedagogy; chemistry understanding informed by cutting-edge scientific research; and leadership development for teachers at various levels of their professional careers. The project employs a randomized control trial research/evaluation design intended to contribute to the research base on improving teacher quality.
Project NEURON (Novel Education for Understanding Research on Neuroscience)
National Institutes of Health Award #1R25RR024251
Neuroscience Program, Curriculum and Instruction, Office for Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education
Project NEURON (Novel Education for Understanding Research On Neuroscience) will bring together scientists, science educators, teachers, and students to develop and disseminate curriculum materials that connect frontier science with national and state science standards. The wide-ranging research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will allow Project NEURON to link NIH-funded neuroscience research with educational research that examines how teachers and students learn. Project NEURON will also help teachers integrate the newly developed materials into existing state curriculum frameworks. Project NEURON will a) develop and disseminate curriculum modules for use in secondary science classrooms; b) improve instructional practices of secondary science teachers; and c) improve student engagement and learning of key science concepts. In addition to developing curriculum modules, the project will 1) create an ongoing series of professional development opportunities for teachers and graduate students; 2) perform a formative and summative evaluation; and 3) provide a dissemination mechanism for the modules, including presentations at science and science education conferences and article submissions to peer-reviewed journals.
SI2-SSI: A Productive and Accessible Development Workbench for HPC Applications Using the Eclipse Parallel Tools Platform
As supercomputers become more powerful, they become more complex. In order to take advantage of the increased power, scientific applications that run on these supercomputers will have to become more complex and will have to take advantage of more processing cores. Even experts at optimizing these applications are quickly being overwhelmed. The Workbench for HPC Applications (W-HPC) project is transforming the way these experts develop, debug, optimize, and run their applications. Using the Eclipse platform, W-HPC provides a robust and portable way to manage computational science and engineering code development for a range of research disciplines. W-HPC also includes a targeted education and outreach program including outreach to minority-serving institutions that will train new users, explain the advantages of using Eclipse-based tools, and encourage users participate in the development of new tools.
The next generation of petascale systems will give unprecedented power to the scientific community as they tackle grand challenge problems. However, in order to take advantage of the huge potential performance improvements, application size and complexity will increase substantially as projects become multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary. W-HPC will transform the way the community develops, debugs, optimizes, and runs its applications. As part of the project, the Eclipse Parallel Tools Platform (Eclipse PTP) is being enhanced to provide an open source, robust, portable, and sustainable development environment suitable for use with a broad range of scientific codes.