Symposium Promotes Technological Literacy through STEM: These Teachers Will Make a Difference in the Coming Year Promoting the T&E of STEM

Article excerpt

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A three-day symposium titled, "The Anderson, Oconee, Pickens Symposium on Teaching and Learning STEM Standards for the 21st Century," was held August 4-6, 2008 at the Tri-County Technical College (TCTC) Anderson, South Carolina campus. The symposium provided an opportunity to unite teachers and administrators from K-12, Clemson University, and Tri-County Technical College, in the Upstate of South Carolina, to collaborate and communicate at all levels of STEM education.

One of the symposium goals was to develop ways to integrate technological literacy into the K-16 curricula--promote ways of integrating technology and engineering that will encourage more local students to choose STEM careers. Another goal was to expand communication among groups vertically. Individually, STEM activities have been created and are successful; however, through collaboration much more can be accomplished.

Emphasis was placed on ITEA's Standards for Technological Literacy: Content for the Study of Technology (ITEA, 2000/2002/2007). The symposium was designed to promote the improvement of STEM education for ALL students at ALL levels. Our hopes are to increase opportunities for meaningful consideration by all local citizens of STEM-related careers. It is our desire to help develop a skilled labor force for local manufacturing and related industries. The K-12 participants came as groups from local schools and went away with action plans to improve STEM education at their respective schools.

In attendance were one hundred (100) elementary, middle school, high school, college, and university educators and administrators from the Upstate of South Carolina. There were 29 elementary school teachers/coordinators from eight elementary schools, 33 middle school teachers/coordinators from eight middle schools, twelve high school teachers/ coordinators from four high schools, six faculty members/ administrators from Tri-County Technical College, four faculty members/administrators from Clemson University, a coordinator from EDuLINK, a technical education leader from the South Carolina Department of Education, and the coordinator of the Pendleton Region Regional Education Center (REC) in attendance. The symposium was hosted by Clemson University and Tri-County Technical College. A grant received from AdvanceSC, an educational funding agency of Duke Energy, made this project possible.

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Colonel Patrick Forrester (U.S. Army, Retired), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) active astronaut, opened the symposium with a presentation titled The View from Space: STEM is Important. The rest of the symposium was guided by EbD[TM] experts Michael Daugherty, Professor of Technology Education, University of Arkansas, acted as the EbD[TM] facilitator. The content coaches were John Hansen, DTE, Professor of Technology, University of Texas at Tyler; Greg Kane, Connecticut State Supervisor for Technology Education; Dan Engstrom, DTE, Associate Professor in Technology Education, California University of Pennsylvania; Doug Wagner, Director of Adult, Career and Technical (ACT) Education in Manatee County, Florida; and Brad Dearing, STEM Teacher, University High School, Bloomington, Illinois. …