Monday, January 31, 2011

STEM Teaching and Professional Development

As more educators recognize the importance of science, technology, engineering, and math education, many opportunities for professional development have sprung up around the country. Universities, schools and districts, and corporations have all begun to recognize the critical role that educators play in providing high-quality STEM education both in- and out-of-school time. Likewise, many emerging or mid-career educators are looking to increase their knowledge of effective teaching techniques for communicating STEM subjects as well as background in the subjects themselves. 

Below are some opportunities for further learning from across the country that I found in a couple of quick web searches. This collection of fellowships and certifications are not necessarily degrees in STEM teaching. If you know of any more programs, please share them in the comments!

Who: Classroom teachers; no out-of-school time focus specified. STEM content webinars would be helpful for out-of-school time providers as well. 
What: online resource with webinars, blog, and other resources for educators who want to bring STEM into their programs. Also hosts two in-person summer institutes focusing on 1) increasing knowledge of STEM content and teaching techniques and 2) participating in STEM education research at Discovery's world headquarters in Washington, D.C. 
Where: Online with summer institutes in Washington, D.C. 

Who: Early Career Fellows, college graduates who have completed coursework in mathematics and who are new to teaching; and Master Teachers, who have at least four years of math teaching experience and who spend at least 75% of their teaching time focused on math
What: Multi-year fellowship that focuses on improving content and quality of 
mathematics instruction at US secondary schools. 
Where: Berkeley, CA; Boston, MA, Los Angeles, CA; San Diego, CA; Washington, D.C.; New York City; Utah

Who: Third- through fifth-grade teachers 
What: Intensive week-long training on how to create and effectively teach math and science curricula.
Where: Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, New Jersey (also a member of the Coalition!).

Who: Teaching Fellowships are awarded to science and/or math educators, focusing on emerging professionals
What: Five-year program that provides ongoing training and mentorship in teaching techniques and trends; provides financial support of up to $150,000 over five-year length of fellowship
Where: Nationwide

Who: Informal science educators from underrepresented groups and regions across the US
What: Ongoing mentoring and professional development; participation in CAISE Inquiry Groups; travel stipends to attend Informal Science Education summit 
Where: Fellows work across the informal science education spectrum across the country. View a list of current fellows and read about their work here

Who: Current or prospective educators
What: Graduate-level online courses teaching research-based pedagogical strategies and cutting-edge STEM content; leads to a certificate as well as credit to affiliated graduate institutions
Where: Nationwide--courses are all online

Who: Elementary-school educators
What: Teacher training that focuses on technology and engineering content and teaching 
strategies; university offers training and materials to start graduate certificate programs at schools and districts across the country
Where: St. Catherine University in St. Paul/Minneapolis, Minnesota

In addition, check out the many professional development opportunities available through the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA). 

Monday, January 24, 2011

"At the Science Fair"

Science fairs are a big part of both in-school and out-of-school time science learning, and the idea has gotten a lot of high-profile publicity over the last few months, from the White House to Google's Global Science Fair to gyms and auditoriums across the country. 

We were recently contacted by a parent whose son, a high-school student named Kevin, created a video to teach middle school students about science fairs. Kevin did this as part of a project for his IB program, combing his tech skills with science outreach in an engaging way. Check it out! 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Now Accepting Newsletter Submissions

We are currently accepting submissions from Coalition members for our monthly newsletter. Possible submissions include:
  • Major awards, recognitions, or grants received by your program
  • Initiatives, contests, festivals, or events of a national scope hosted by your program or organization
  • Upcoming conferences, webinars, or other professional development activities related to STEM in out of school time
  • Requests for partnerships, case studies, advice for building program capacity, or other communication needs
Check out the January newsletter to see what a typical month looks like.

Not a member of the Coalition? Join for free as an organization or individual!

Submit your newsletter ideas to info (at)


Monday, January 03, 2011

Science Education in the New Year

Early January is a great time to reflect on success of the past year and to create goals for the year to come. Here are some things to do to re-commit yourself to introducing young minds to science in out of school time:

  • Visit the our partners at Connect a Million Minds and take the pledge to connect young minds to science! 
  • Grant deadlines will sneak up faster than you think! Take some time to create or update your grant and fellowship deadline calendar. Check out places like Grantmakers for Education and The Foundation Center to search for foundations and funders relevant to your projects.
  • This new year also brings a new Congress at the federal level, as well as many new representatives at the state level. Become familiar with your local and state representatives, the 112th Congress, and the changes to the federal Afterschool Caucus so that you can be a strong advocate for afterschool programs in the next two years. 
  • Update your Directory listings to reflect any new calendar dates and/or times!
  • Check out the conferences and events that you may be interested in attending.
Do you have any STEM or education-related New Year's Resolutions or goals? What are you going to do differently in 2011?