“We worked closely in helping teachers utilize best practices in allowing kids to discover and learn basic STEM concepts,” Greer said. “We also participated in a school carnival and oversaw the management of four STEM-related tables where very young students could explore and engage with puzzles, sorting, drawing and creating stories.”
Greer and Stueve also traveled to Kolkata to work with teachers and students in fourth through 10th grades to create hands-on, place-based activities for students.
“During day one, students were given a mobility challenge and separated into groups to design the next generation of assistive devices for people with mobility impairments,” Greer explained. “Given that this school has no elevators, very few ramps and no automatic doors, this challenge provided very useful for students who mimicked all manner of mobility impairment from paralysis to amputation.”
Greer explained that the central objective for the partnership with STEM Academy of USA has been to help provide more engaging interdisciplinary STEM curriculum for K-12 schools in India.
“We want to help teachers develop lessons that are more integrative and give the students a challenge that they have to work out themselves,” she said. “It is important that they know that solutions must go through a design and testing phase to see if it works in the real world, but also to know that there is not just one right answer to each challenge.”
For the next phase of the partnership, curriculum is being developed by COE and other Georgia Southern faculty to be used by teachers in India. They are also creating professional development opportunities to model what interdisciplinary STEM lessons look like.
Currently four COE faculty and staff have developed modules with collaborations from other colleges including: COE’s Bob Mayes, Ph.D., and biology faculty Checo Colon-Gaud, Ph.D., have developed a module on population dynamics; COE’s Lacey Huffling, Ph.D., and chemistry faculty Shainaz Landge, Ph.D., have developed a module on water quality; COE’s Heather Scott, Ed.D., and biology faculty Denise Carroll, Ph.D., have developed a module on seed dispersal; and Greer is completing an aquaponics module with FORAM Sustainable Aquaponics Research Center’s Brigette Brinton.
“We look forward to continuing our collaboration this summer when we host up to 40 teachers from India K-12 schools for a three-week intensive professional development training at Georgia Southern,” Greer explained. “We plan to utilize these four curriculum modules as the basis of the training, and then return to India after the professional development to follow up with in-class supplemental training and modeling, as this is often a key missing piece in professional development.”
The STEM Academy of USA and i2STEMe completed their first visit to India as a part of the collaboration in September 2016. The partnership has spurred the STEM Academy of USA to make plans to launch STEM Centers of Excellence in West Bengal and New Delhi and to continue to collaborate with Georgia Southern in training STEM education specialists in India.
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