STEM WORKSHOP PREPARES TEACHERS, FACULTY FOR USING NEW TECHNOLOGY

(COLUMBIA, Tenn. – June 18, 2012) - - - There was a time when math and science teachers would lecture and students would follow along with note taking and plugging numbers into calculators, learning formulae and scientific algorithms. If a student were to get a problem wrong in a step someplace, teachers only knew that the final answer was incorrect.

With the Texas Instrument n-Spire/Navigator series of wireless calculators, teachers can follow each student through every step of every problem during class time and during exams. They can immediately tell when a student is missing something and move rapidly to re-teach or find a better way to help students learn. Grades are entered immediately and wirelessly providing teachers and students feedback about what they have mastered and what they need more time to learn.

With every new technology, teachers also have to adapt the way in which they teach. On June 8, elementary school, high school and college faculty attended a workshop at Columbia State Community College led by Ray Fox, a T3 Instructor. The workshop was aimed at giving teachers and college faculty hands-on experience with the nSprire and Navigator system while developing strategies to incorporate this state-of-the-art equipment into their individual classrooms.

Glenn Hudson, workshop creator and Columbia State professor of math and physics, noted that bringing science, technology, engineering and math teachers and faculty into the same workshop to learn the new technologies together have the added benefit of developing a multi-disciplinary approach to teaching in general.

“As we integrate STEM concepts from each of the disciplines, the student begins to see the connectedness of science and math problem solving,” Hudson said.

The workshop was one of several topics developed by the GRITS and EYH organizations that are led by Dr. Judith Iriarte-Gross of Middle Tennessee State University. GRITS and EYH are organizations that reach out to girls and women in an effort to encourage them to pursue STEM majors and careers.

Columbia State is a two-year college, serving a nine-county area in southern Middle Tennessee with locations in Columbia, Franklin, Lawrenceburg, Lewisburg and Clifton. As Tennessee’s first community college, Columbia State is committed to increasing access and enhancing diversity at all five campuses. Columbia State is a member of the Tennessee Board of Regents, the sixth largest higher education system in the nation. For more information, please visit www.columbiastate.edu.

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