ARLINGTON, VA | January 30, 2007
Education Development Center (EDC) will host educators from 33 states who have cultivated youth interest in science and technology, to share their strategies after four years in a $73 million program funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Participants in the Information Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program will talk about their projects and experiences at a symposium February 6-8, along with policymakers and research and business leaders interested in boosting youth interest in science-related careers.
ITEST is a key player in realizing NSF’s goal to produce more science and technology-savvy kids to fill the looming shortage of qualified workers. The program reaches 108,000 students and 3,800 teachers in grades 6-12, through projects in schools, universities, after-school programs, museums, and other community settings. To support these efforts and disseminate lessons learned through the program, NSF also funds the ITEST Learning Resource Center at EDC.
“Political leaders, policy makers and educators see evidence every day of the urgent need to ensure that students have the necessary science and technology skills to keep the U.S. competitive in the 21st century,” said EDC’s Joyce Malyn-Smith who directs the Resource Center. “As other countries are developing the skills needed to compete globally, we are finding ways to attract young people and build their skills for a bright future in these fields.”
Among the ways ITEST is inspiring student interest:
- In Philadelphia, 270 young people—girls, Hispanics, and African-Americans—are learning cartographic and design skills in a bilingual setting to create community maps with GIS tools.
- In indigenous communities in northeastern Alaska, 375 teachers and 5,100 students are using several technologies, including numerical modeling software, to study local effects of climate change.
- On the California coast, 120 middle and high school students are tracking whales and dolphins on the open sea, using digital recording equipment to study their acoustic behavior.
- In rural Montana, 60 teachers and their students, including Native American youth, are employing geospatial technologies to share new discoveries about the fossil record of the Northern Plains.
- In Honolulu, 400 young people are creating electronic adaptive devices to meet the needs of people with disabilities and the elderly in their community.