UMass STEM Ed Institute Presents: Spring 2015 STEM Tuesday Seminars


February 3

Luk Hendrik
Professor, Microbiology, University of Massachusetts Amherst

“Mobile Platform for Data Capture and Use in the Class and Beyond”

Discoveries made by our students can inspire deep and lasting learning. But there are many challenges to setting up effective discovery-based learning opportunities. Aecern is a non-profit education organization based in Woods Hole, MA that is exploring how technology can help by providing tools and structure to guide and facilitate data capture and use, both in the classroom and beyond. In collaboration with teachers in MA and throughout the US we are building the Aecern Discovery Hub. This free learning platform prompts students to capture discoveries they make through a mobile app (for iPad, iPhone only at this time). Their discoveries are automatically made available to them online through our website, where they can be reviewed, shared, and incorporated into learning activities. Teachers can either build their own version of the Aecern app, or use one designed by our community of discovery educators. During this presentation we'll give a hands-on introduction to the Aecern Discovery  Hub, provide an update on our progress to date, and put out a call for educators (you?) who would like to collaborate with us to help make this clearning resource great.

February 17

Michael Barnett
Professor of Science Education and Technology, Boston College

“Seeding the Future: Creating a Green Collar Workforce”

This recently funded NSF Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program to implement and study the impact of a  hydroponic farming project, using solar panels and windmills to help  power the indoor gardens at Boston’s Salvation Army Kroc Center  will engage  approximately 1,000 students and 40 to 60 teachers at 20 schools. The Project will teach public high school students to grow hydroponic fruits and vegetables and then sell them at farmers’ markets in underserved areas of the city.

March 3
Leslie Schneider, InterLACE

“InterLACE, Physics Teaching Software”

March 24

Beth McGinnis Cavanaugh, Director, Team Through My Window, Springfield Technical Community College; Dave Hart, OIT, UMass

“Team Through My Window”

In an effort to increase the number of students who enroll in and complete programs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), Springfield Technical Community College launched the STEM Starter  Academy. Over seven weeks in this summer, students completed three courses—Introduction to Engineering, remedial Math, and College Success—aimed at giving them a head start for their first semester at STCC.  The students also met guest speakers and visited local companies. This talk will center around the lessons learned from launching an intensive summer program geared around STEM education.

April 7

Debbie Carlisle
PhD, Education

"Developing Students Spatial Skills in General Chemistry”

The study of chemistry requires the understanding and use of spatial relationships, which have been shown to be challenging for many students. This study implemented guided activities designed to strengthen students' spatial skills, with the aim of preparing students for advanced study in chemistry and other future STEM coursework.

A pre/post quasi-experimental design was employed in which theexperimental (n = 209) and control group (n = 212) were administered a pre and post-test. The results of a one-way ANOVA confirmed that student performance differed significantly between groups,indicating that the guided activities were successful in strengthening students' ability to reason with spatial information. In particular, theresults indicate that students' improved their ability to identify symmetry planes, visualize in 3D, mentally rotate molecules, and translate between 2D representations and 3D molecular models. Theresults also suggest that a large amount of class time need not be devoted to enhance students skills, and that a diverse group of students can be trained together effectively without the need to separate high and low ability individuals.

April 21
Computer Science Building, Room 151 140 Governors. Drive, UMass Amherst Parking: metered spaces are available in lot 31 across Governor's Dr., and lot 45, west of the building. Meters are in effect until 5 pm. Parking map: http://parking.umass.edu/images/maps/mapGarageParking.pdf


Valerie Barr
Professor, Computer Science, Union College

“Disciplinary Thinking, Computational Doing: Promoting Interdisciplinary
Computing While Transforming Computer Science Enrollments”

This talk will cover curricular changes in the Computer Science program  at Union College, the infusion of computing into courses in 15 disciplines, and the overall impact on CS enrollments and exposure to computing across the institution.