Since its inception in 1988, the Center for Improved Engineering and Science Education (CIESE) at Stevens Institute of Technology has run several workshops for teachers to help them learn how to integrate technology into their curricula. Recently, CIESE’s training has focused on using real-time data available from the internet to enhance classroom instruction.
The CIESE training model that has proved most effective is one in which teachers develop their own internet-based science and math projects to use in their classrooms. CIESE has identified seven factors that are critical to the success of the program and successful project development by teachers:
1. Teachers must have access to the internet in their school (preferably their classroom), allowing skill practice and project implementation.
2. School principals and district administrators must give teachers their full support. Special recognition for teachers’ efforts and accomplishments is essential.
3. Teachers should acquire technical skills and explore examples of compelling internet-based lessons through a year-long workshop series prior to developing their own internet-based curriculum projects.
4. The projects that teachers choose should fit directly into their curricula and have scientific and mathematical validity. They should also be tied to local, state, and national standards and to standardized tests as appropriate.
5. A low staff-to-teacher ratio can be expensive but is very effective. An arrangement of one staff project leader per group is recommended, with subject matter experts available to assist as needed.
6. One staff member who is very experienced with web page development should be assigned to rove from group to group helping with the technical aspects of the web page development process.
7. Short morning presentations made by staff members or invited guests that are related to the day’s goals and objectives can help focus the day’s activities.
The following are two examples of interdisciplinary web-based projects developed by middle school teachers who participated in a CIESE training session during the 1998-99 school year:
The USS Battleship New Jersey: http://eclipse.bhs.bboed.org/public//horace2/battleship/index.html
pH Acid Rain: http://www.angelfire.com/nj2/phacidrain
Other projects developed during two 1999 summer institutes can be found at http://www.k12science.org/sciencelink/projects.html.