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Hofstra wins $2 million grant for education research

By Samantha Abram, Staff Writer

On November 17th, the Hofstra Center for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) research won a federal grant of almost $2 million from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The grant was given to create high school courses that focus on technology, biochemical, information and communication, and materials and manufacturing. The grant will contribute to a 4-year project titled Articulated Technological Education Pathways (ATEP).

ATEP will create three courses, each a year long. The project gives high school students the opportunity to expand their minds and think like college students. They study high school technology and become prepared for community college technician education programs.

The courses are developed according to contemporary pedagogical practice and are brought together with STEM, which learns to create similar standards. The program utilizes new technology, mostly digital, to teach students, and it encourages a hands on approach by incorporating physical modeling activities and using web based learning.

Each course serves as a replacement for a high school curriculum in each program they offer. The courses are all developed by professional experts in each area, high school teachers and college industrialists. This makes the program relatable to high school students while being advanced at the same time.

In order to get adjusted to the program, students go through an introductory session that discusses the work that has been done with STEM research so far. The rest of the course puts emphasis on concepts that can build on the previous work of the program. Each teacher, parent and administrator involved in the program receives a guide about the work done during the program.

"The mission of the project is to develop and research a high-quality innovative program model that will inspire high school students to pursue promising technical careers in three project focus areas: biotechnology, information/communication, and manufacturing technology," said Michael Hacker, who is co-director of the Hofstra Center for STEM Research and the principal investigator of the simulations and modeling in the technology education NSF Project. "These are areas that hold great career promise for students and underpin sustainable economic growth," he added.

"We are delighted to have won the ATEP project as it continues to support our research in interconnected STEM learning," said M. David Burghardtt, a professor of Engineering, co-Director of the Center for Technological Literacy and former chair of Engineering and of Computer Science. "The Center for STEM Research, that Mike Hacker and I co-direct, is one of the leading research centers for STEM education in the nation.  On the ATEP project we are collaborating with faculty in three states, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Texas, as we develop modules that use engineering design pedagogy to enhance learning," he added.

The basic goal is to develop better technology skills within the student and teacher community, in hopes of encouraging students to pursue a career in one of the area above.

(Illustration by Bryan Menegus and Marc Butcavage/The Chronicle)

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