Supported by NSF grant PHY-9819461, 08/01/99 to 07/31/02
PI: David Hestenes, Facilitator: Jane Jackson

Project Summary:

This project aims to establish an infrastructure for sustained professional development and support of local experts on the use of technology in science teaching (Teaching with Technology Resource Agents-TTRAs) to lead science education reform in the nation’s schools. These experts will serve their schools and school districts as leaders in:

Every high school needs at least one such TTRA:

These leaders must be practicing science teachers, not mere technology specialists, because effective instruction in the use of computers as scientific tools requires special competence in pedagogy and science as well as technology.

A nationwide network of Local Physics Alliances (LPAs) offers a ready framework for organizing high school physics teachers into a community of TTRAs, but the physics community must be mobilized to train and support them. To that end, regional Science and Technology Education Partnerships (STEPs) can be established between university physics departments and LPAs in their regions. The universities can maintain academic programs to develop inservice teachers as TTRAs, and they can assist in organizing broader support for technology in science teaching reform from schools and school districts, business and industry, and their communities.

The main objective of this project is to engage and assist university physics departments throughout the country in creating STEPs in their own regions. The project conducts annual Leadership Workshops to energize, inform and consolidate the community of STEP leaders. Ongoing educational research infuses the latest advances in technology-based science curricula and pedagogy.

Workshop Announcement:

The STEPs project is conducting workshops at the semi-annual meetings of the AAPT to assist physics faculty and high school teachers in creating STEPs in their own regions.

Workshop title: UNIVERSITY-HIGH SCHOOL PARTNERSHIPS for physics teaching reform.

Abstract: To lead science education reform in the schools, high school physics teachers must be integrated into the physics community and given easy access to its resources. They must be empowered by programs for sustained professional growth and support from peers and the physics community. Learn how this can be achieved at the local level through partnerships between university physics departments and local physics alliances, and further enriched by graduate programs tailored for teachers. Participation is limited, so you should register your interest as soon as possible. To reserve a spot and apply for financial support, contact Jane Jackson.

Partner Organizations:

STEPs Goals and Objectives:

I. Help university physics departments establish or improve local partnerships with high school physics teachers that

1) Reduce isolation of physics teachers by integrating them into the physics community.

2) Link the physics community through teachers to students as a means for improving student understanding of science and scientific careers.

3) Involve physics faculty in a program of sustained professional development for teachers.

4) Cultivate physics teachers as leaders of science education reform in their schools and school districts in accord with the National Science Education Standards.

II. Advise and assist physics departments on School-University partnerships to help teachers implement science teaching reform. Cultivate a community of physics departments concerned with local or regional science education reform so they can learn from one another.

III. Mobilize support for School-University partnerships within the physics community (especially the AAPT, the APS and National Labs).

IV. Encourage and collaborate with exemplary School-University partnerships to serve as models for institutionalizing sustained science education reform.

V. Assist teachers and faculty nationwide in organizing Modeling Workshops to develop teacher competence in research-based reforms in physics instruction.

VI. Organize and support continued improvement and extension of instructional materials and techniques by teams of exceptional teachers and science education researchers.

This page was maintained by Larry Dukerich

last updated 01/03/01

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