#StayHomeSTEM: Teacher Professional Development in a Virtual Environment

This was my seventh summer facilitating a professional devlopment program for secondary STEM teachers at the Center for Neurotechnology, where I work part-time as the Engineering Education Research Manager. The Research Experience for Teachers program engages secondary STEM teachers in a seven-week rigorous professional learning program. The program engages teachers in mentored, authentic research projects in CNT host labs across different science and engineering departments at the University of Washington. Teachers also develop innovative, NGSS-aligned curriculum materials for their own classrooms and for eventual publication and wide dissemination.

Dr. Kristen Bergsman at her home work station, remotely facilitating the Research Experience for Teachers program during the summer of 2020 amidst a global pandemic.

This summer, I took the program online, adapting it for a remote environment given the COVID-19 pandemic. This challenge included encouraging host labs to develop research projects that could be conducted remotely, and mentoring the participating teachers in how to design curricula for distance learning. Check out this recent article: “The CNT Continues to Expand Access to Neural Engineering Education to Middle and High School Students, Even Through COVID-19” for a description of how we adapted the program to allow the teachers to work, research, and design curriculum from home. #StayHomeSTEM

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