Connecting Kids to Mathematics, Science, and Technology
Math and science are more important than ever to the U.S. work force, yet many students do not acquire the skills necessary to pursue careers in these fields. Economically disadvantaged, minority, and female students are less likely to enroll in advanced math and science courses in high school, limiting their ability to pursue post-secondary education and careers in science, technology, engineering, or math. These students often underestimate their abilities in mathematics and science—an erosion of confidence that begins well before high school. With funding from the Educational Foundation of America and the KDK-Harman Foundation, SEDL is working with four schools in the Austin Independent School District to help strengthen student engagement and achievement in math and science during their upper elementary and middle school years.
In the Connecting Kids to Math, Science, and Technology project, SEDL staff will pilot test a professional development process with 40 teachers from four elementary and middle schools that serve high-need student populations. Teachers will learn to provide rich and challenging hands-on experiences in math and science. They will also learn to use and incorporate technology tools such as digital cameras, digital microscopes, graphing calculators, and portable GPS units to boost students’ engagement and achievement. In addition to these resources, students will have access to a protected social networking site.
Professional development will also focus on specific areas identified by teachers as high need. For example, if students are struggling with earth science concepts or algebraic reasoning, or if teachers need to know more about how to manage an activity with a class of 24 students and only a few computers, SEDL staff will collaborate with the teachers to find ideas and solutions to the challenges. Further, SEDL staff will conduct classroom visits to observe teacher practices and provide follow-up support. Throughout the project, teachers will also have opportunities to share experiences with one another and reflect on lesson planning and implementation. Once the professional development has been created, SEDL will share it with other schools and educators working to improve student engagement in math and science.
Updated 9/4/2012: Connecting Kids to Mathematics and Science, A Professional Development Course is now available online.