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Area teachers go "back to school" at ORAU this summer for interactive STEM courses

ORAU concludes second week of free technology professional development workshops for educators

June 16, 2014

Teachers participate in GPS workshop

Daryl Sibble (center), graduate student working at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), demonstrates to area teachers how GPS can be incorporated in the classroom and for outdoor lessons. Teachers in photo include Eric Good from William Blount High School (left), Sherilyn Dawson from Concord Christian School and Judy Pearson from Heritage Middle School (back to camera) during last week’s workshop at ORAU’s Center for Science Education.

OAK RIDGE, Tenn.—More than 190 elementary, middle school and high school educators from East Tennessee gathered in ORAU’s Center for Science Education last week to participate in a variety of technology professional development workshops. The free workshops offered educators the chance to enhance their STEM knowledge and curricula through hands-on experiences.

One of last week’s workshops focused on how GPS could be used during an outside exercise. Workshop participants took an excursion outside for a hands-on activity where the first three participants to locate a hidden GPS device using provided coordinates actually won a GPS device.

“I learned a great deal about GPS, because I was a total stranger to GPS before this workshop, said Arnold (Rocky) Warren from Morgan County Career and Technical Center. “I have some GPS devices in my classroom, but I did not know all the ways I could use them. Now, I feel confident I can instruct my students on how to use them in my physics class.”

The workshops are designed so teachers can take the information back to their students and use it immediately. The Twitter Workshop proved popular as well.

“The Twitter Workshop allowed me to connect to a great deal of math resources on Twitter,” said Jonathan Schoolcraft from Wartburg Central High School. “I really enjoyed the workshop, and I think my students will love using Twitter for math classes. I look forward to implementing these resources in my algebra II and geometry classes.”

ORAU conducts these workshops as part of its K-12 educator programs. The ORAU Center for Science Education offers educators the opportunity to participate in STEM programs that enhance classroom teaching. During the summer months, ORAU offers a variety of programs to provide teachers the opportunity to engage in hands-on activities that enhance their STEM curriculum.

Sherilyn Dawson from Concord Christian School agreed that the workshops are valuable.

“I have participated in several of these (ORAU) workshops, and the experience has been phenomenal,” said Dawson. “Being able to take the hands-on, practical applications that we learn during the workshops back to the classroom helps keep lesson plans from becoming stale.”

ORAU’s technology professional workshops continue through the month of June.

Learn more about the workshops and find information about how to register for upcoming sessions.

ORAU provides innovative scientific and technical solutions to advance national priorities in science, education, security and health. Through specialized teams of experts, unique laboratory capabilities and access to a consortium of more than 100 major Ph.D.-granting institutions, ORAU works with federal, state, local and commercial customers to advance national priorities and serve the public interest. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and federal contractor, ORAU manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

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