February 24, 2009
For more than five years, EDC has supported the ITEST Learning Resource Center, funded by the National Science Foundation. Part of the Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) Program, the Learning Resource Center shares best practices and lessons learned and provides research, resources, community building, and other support to funded projects. More than 135 programs, held in places such as Boys & Girls Clubs, 4-H Clubs, and afterschool centers, engage students in grades 6 through 12 in hands-on activities that nurture science, technology, engineering, and mathematics skills.
“The ITEST program is very significant at this point in time,” says EDC’s Joyce Malyn-Smith, reflecting on ITEST’s first five years of work. “We’ve built a community of practice among researchers, educators, community partners, and other stakeholders across the country. We’re developing a pipeline of talent that is a tremendous resource.”
From February 26-27, EDC is hosting the “ITEST Summit” in Washington, D.C . This annual event allows NSF Program Officers, ITEST project directors, and other staff to come together to learn about NSF priorities, network and collaborate, and share key “lessons learned” through ITEST activities.
This sixth annual Summit is unique in several ways. ITEST’s thriving community of practice provides opportunities for emeritus PIs to mentor those who are new to the ITEST program. Projects with year one funding will be paired with staff from a longer-running project.
EDC is also harnessing the technological expertise within the ITEST community. For the first time, summit participants will be blogging about their summit experiences. “ITEST is all about using technology in innovative ways for learning and communicating,” notes LRC Project Director Siobhan Bredin. “So it’s only natural that participants in our annual gathering would be blogging, commenting, and posting their own photos from this event¬—using the same tools and modeling the activities of youth and adult ITEST participants from across the country.”
Proceedings from the summit—including bloggers’ reflections on workshops, panels, and other summit activities—will be available in March 2009. A report on the key themes and lessons learned during ITEST’s first five years is available by contacting Siobhan Bredin at firstname.lastname@example.org.