UNCG’s School of Education has been awarded a five-year, $7.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The grant will further UNCG’s efforts to emphasize technology integration across all teaching fields as well as recruit, train and support more Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) teachers.
UNCG will receive approximately $1.6 million per year over the next five years. Including that first $1.6 million allotment, the School has received just under $2.7 million from a variety of external sponsors since July 1, 2014.
“The project is about leveraging emerging technology to enhance teaching and learning,” says Dr. Christina O’Connor, who will direct the project for UNCG. “It’s not all about specific cutting-edge technology because that changes. It’s about how we can use technology to better prepare teachers so that students become more creative and more innovative, and learn by doing.”
That innovation might include anything from educational gaming to use of 3D printers, O’Connor says. Or even loading sewing machines with conductive thread.
UNCG will team up with seven public schools in Guilford and Forsyth counties to launch the project in Fall 2014. This fall, UNCG will select four elementary schools in the Guilford County system and two middle schools and a high school in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth system as partners. In Fall 2015, UNCG students will be placed in the partner schools Partner schools will see several benefits from the collaboration with UNCG:
- UNCG will install a tailor-made Makerspace – a technology workshop based on the theory that we learn by making – at each school. Makerspaces include high-tech equipment for hands-on learning.
- UNCG students, including graduate students from the UNCG-NC A&T Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering, will serve as content experts for classroom teachers to further learning through technology.
- UNCG will host a summer Maker Camp for kids in 2015, utilizing the new Makerspace on the third floor of the School of Education. High school students will be recruited as camp counselors, and teachers will take part as a way to learn how to better integrate technology into their classrooms.
What does UNCG gain from the partnerships? A hands-on training ground for its teacher candidates, says O’Connor. And a tool to recruit future STEM teachers.
By Michelle Hines