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Purdue U and PBS TeacherLine Team on STEM Training for Educators

Purdue University is teaming up with PBS to educate elementary school teachers on how to teach engineering concepts to young students. The new course for preK-6 teachers is a joint effort of PBS TeacherLine, an online professional development program for educators, and Purdue's Institute for P-12 Engineering Research and Learning (INSPIRE) within the School of Engineering Education.

The goal of the effort is ultimately to interest students at an early age in the sciences and engineering.

"These are exciting times for STEM educators, given the strong political commitment to STEM teacher training, a revitalized national focus on the 'E' (engineering) in STEM, and a growing research body that demonstrates interest in engineering needs to be fostered particularly in the early years," said Johannes Strobel, director of INSPIRE and assistant professor of engineering education and educational technology at Purdue. "It's time to translate that research into teacher professional development."

The 30-hour, two-credit course, which INSPIRE has developed, will be offered nationally through TeacherLine's online learning environment, which integrates audio, video, and interactive technology with a collaborative online learning community. The curriculum will show educators how to teach engineering topics, such as balances and forces, electricity, and magnetism. The course also will demonstrate how teachers can use technology in the classroom to enhance student learning. Teachers can earn graduate credit from Purdue University, continuing education units, or professional development points for course completion. The course will be open for enrollment in September.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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