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Conference Explores Innovative Methods for Undergraduate STEM Education
Hundreds of educators who specialize in undergraduate education will convene in Washington, D.C., this week for a conference co-sponsored by AAAS to explore new methods for improving undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education.
The 2008 Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement (CCLI) conference—to be held 13-15 August—will bring together an estimated 500 participants from across the country. Most will be participants or stakeholders in a bold National Science Foundation (NSF) initiative to transform STEM teaching methods on campuses across the country.
Since 1999, the NSF Division of Undergraduate Education has distributed grants to colleges and universities through its CCLI program, encouraging them to alter their STEM teaching methods. While traditional STEM teaching methods rely heavily on fact-laden lectures and laboratories, several new programs have found that student engagement increases when students are exposed to environments that encourage collaborative work and hands-on activities.
The innovations developed by the CCLI grants are aimed at increasing science literacy and providing knowledge vital for students to participate in an increasing technological world.
[Photo by Michael Colella]
"Undergraduate courses are usually the last chance we get to help citizens and future leaders understand the nature of science and the importance of STEM to our lives—as individuals and as members of the larger society," said Shirley Malcom, director of the AAAS Education and Human Resources (EHR). "We can't emphasize enough how important it is to improve education at this level."
The 2008 conference will focus on four main areas: creating new learning materials and teaching strategies; implementing successful educational innovations in curricula; assessing learning and evaluating innovations; and conducting additional research on STEM teaching and learning.
The conference will also include plenary lectures, workshops, poster sessions, and an opportunity to for participants to network with other faculty and administrators leading CCLI programs on campus.
While the meeting is invitation-only, AAAS and NSF will publish a report highlighting the exemplary programs and practices developed by the CCLI grantees.
12 August 2008