NEWTON, MA | February 17, 2010
Engaging the interest and passion of young people in the subjects of science, technology, engineering, and math is a critical and ongoing goal for educators, researchers, and policymakers alike, many of whom will be attending the seventh annual ITEST Summit.
This year’s summit, STEM Career Development: Nurturing Interest, Persistence & STEM Self-Efficacy, will allow participants to share knowledge, best practices, and findings from the first six years of the National Science Foundation program Information Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers, or ITEST. Hosted by Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), this event will be held February 25–26 at the Renaissance Washington D.C. Downtown Hotel.
ITEST is a key player in realizing the U.S. goal to produce more science-savvy kids to fill the looming shortage of qualified STEM workers. ITEST reaches more than 189,000 students and 6,800 teachers in grades K–12 through projects in schools and afterschool programs YMCAs, Boys & Girls Clubs, and community centers. To support these efforts and disseminate the lessons learned through the program, NSF funds the ITEST Learning Resource Center at EDC.
At this year’s summit, staff from the Learning Resource Center will present preliminary results of the first annual management information system data collection. To accurately document the breadth and depth of the ITEST program, project leaders are being asked to complete an annual questionnaire describing program activities, participants, goals, and dissemination.
“The descriptive information about the projects helps to highlight the broad impact of ITEST,” said EDC research scientist Dr. Carrie Parker. “In 2009 alone, more than 15,000 youth were involved, either as participants in youth-based projects or as part of teacher professional development.”
Also at this year’s summit, Learning Resource Center staff and ITEST project participants will be blogging and using Twitter to connect program participants and others interested in STEM education and workforce development to key events. Some of the sessions will be webcast live, and remote participants will have the ability to submit questions to presenters.
“Political leaders, policymakers, and educators all want to ensure that students have the necessary science and technology skills to keep the United States globally competitive,” said EDC’s Joyce Malyn-Smith, who directs the resource center. “Through our work with teachers and students, we are finding ways to spark interest and build skills and to position young people for futures in these fields,” she said.
Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) is a global nonprofit organization that develops innovative programs to address urgent challenges in education, health, and economic development. EDC conducts more than 300 projects in 35 countries. Visit www.edc.org. The ITEST Learning Resource Center, in EDC’s Learning and Teaching Division, helps build inclusive public-private partnership and education-to-employment systems, and supports information communication technology (ICT) fluency for all learners. Visit http://itestlrc.edc.org/