Now on to 2012, please join FLATE in celebrating manufacturing in Florida in 2012 with FLATE’s own “Year of Manufacturing Awareness” initiatives. We are starting with a workshop with the regional manufacturing associations at Harris Corporation in Melbourne on February 9 to establish ways for individual manufacturers and associations can incorporate activities into their regional events which project a positive perspective of modern manufacturing to their communities, as well as promote manufacturing careers and technical education pathways to students within their high school and career academies. For now, enjoy this abbreviated edition of the FLATE Focus that encourages everyone to explore the world of small scale devices this spring at a number of FLATE supported events; reviews how the National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program has supported technical education in Florida since the mid 1990’s through various college-focused and regional projects; and don’t forget to start out the year right by solving the first 2012 sTEm-at-work puzzle. Oh yes, our best New Year’s resolution? We are going to provide puzzle answers every other month this year.
At the post-secondary level—the theme continues, but the stakes are higher. High profile engineering challenges and invention competitions sponsored by industry and professional societies ratchet up the competition as well as complexity. Some provide significant prizes for winning teams. Designing, building and racing alternative fuel (including human) powered vehicles; designing and building energy independent homes; concrete canoes and toboggans; medical devices etc bring the same problem-based learning approach, extracurricular activities to most college campuses. Opportunities for students to develop critical and creative thinking, knowledge integration, and team-building skills make these projects very popular among students, faculty and industry partners. There has also been interest these activities into academic credit courses so students can get credit for the time they put in. There are obstacles and disadvantages at the college level, as well as advantages to making these activities part of the formal education system and it will be interesting to follow the trend.
Competitions and expos have grown into fun and educational community events. There are a lot of ways to participate in the K-12 level competitions and expos. Teams and individual students need mentors, all of these events only exist with large numbers of volunteers and volunteer hours, and the competitions need judges and sponsors. Volunteering is a great way to help students get excited about STEM and have some fun. Here are a list of state level competitions and websites to check for more details. Some of these sites have links to local/regional competitions that occur before the state events and national events that generally occur in early summer. There are many other student competitions that extend beyond what is listed here, but are generally supported and hosted by
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NSF-ATE grant activities began slowly at first with their 25th award going to Robert Aitken at Brevard Community College in 1994. This award supported a planning grant for an ATE National Center of Excellence with the mission to link two year colleges through their involvement with, and long-term specialized instructional support for nine NASA field centers. The grant funds were aimed at establishing a national clearinghouse for curricular and faculty development programs, as well as educational media supporting these programs to infuse science and mathematics into technological education programs.
Alexander Dickison at Seminole State College, formerly Seminole Community College, was one of the 61 nationwide NSF-ATE grant awardees 1995. This $470,000 NSF-supported project developed new curriculum, and incorporated what is now known through studies in cognitive science, teaching strategies that will improve student learning. These modules are designed to motivate and help technical students see the connections between physics and their chosen technical fields.
In 1996, NSF-ATE provided $250,000 to Broward Community College for a project proposed by Louis Friedman that allowed BCC to lead a consortium composed of the University of Miami, Broward County Schools, N. Broward Hospital District, Hewlett Packard, Advantage Medical Electronics, Motorola, ABC Computers, Asea Brown Boveri Corp., and the Biomedical Engineering Technology (BMET) Advisory Board in developing a program in BMET. The goal of the project was to produce qualified Biomedical Engineering technicians who provide a critical link between the clinical application and the electronic technology of modern medical equipment. Laboratories and laboratory practices were developed to give the students state-of-the-art experiences with a wide range of biomedical equipment.
In 1997 Bob Williams at Daytona State College, formerly Daytona Beach Community College, received a $550,000 grant from NSF ATE to create a new instructional environment for introductory classes in electronics, computer aided design, civil engineering and computer programming. This new environment addressed the various learning modalities, diverse schedules and lifestyles of the non-traditional students found in ever increasing numbers at institutions nationwide. The virtual classroom permitted students to access computer technology and electronics courses at any time and from any place through the resources and capabilities of the internet and the World Wide Web.
At this point in this review, the trend should be clear. Faculty members in Florida’s technician preparation programs have great ideas and NSF-ATE is prepared to back those ideas with the funds to turn good ideas into best education practices for Florida and the nation. However, this is only the beginning. From 1997 through 2001 NSF-ATE accelerates its support of A.S. technical education in Florida. In 1998 William Falls at Hillsborough Community College was awarded a $300,000 grant to create a practical, hands-on applied learning experience for students enrolled in courses of aquaculture, environmental science technology (EST), economics/business and humanities programs of the College, and in 1999 Valencia College, formerly Valencia Community College, was awarded a 1.1 million dollar grant by NSF-ATE to coordinate the development with a major semiconductor manufacturer and five other community colleges in Florida an education-business alliance known as the Tech-4 High-Technology Industrial Education Consortium. Tech-4 designed and delivered a collaborative, replicable electronics workforce development system that maximized learning for secondary and lower-division students through coordinated sharing of industry and educational resources.
As the first decade of NSF-ATE came to a close, the turn of the century saw another grant for Valencia State College with NSF ATE providing $580,000 in support of Colin Archibald’s idea to create a comprehensive information technology workforce development system aimed at increasing the number of skilled computer programming technicians with maximized advanced education and career options. Daytona State College received another NSF ATE grant that provided $550,000 to support Bob Williams’ idea to create the Southeast Center for Networking and Information Technology Education. The Center develops curricula, processes, and infrastructure to improve programs, and creates a statewide delivery system to educate and train technicians to meet workforce shortages in computer networking and information technology. Finally, in 2001 Brevard Community College received two additional grants totaling $610,000 to develop a curriculum on Distributed Energy Systems and create a collaboration to increase the number and diversity of prospective K-12 teachers at BCC by providing opportunities to improve technological literacy, strengthen science and mathematics preparation, transfer seamlessly to a four-year program, and connect with business and industry.
The last grant to a Florida community college in NSF-ATE’s first 10 years of operation went to the same college and faculty member that received Florida’s second NSF-ATE grant. That $300,000 award went to Alexander Dickison at Seminole State College. The funds were used to expand on his very popular and widely used physics curriculum.
So that’s a brief summary of the first 10 years of NSF ATE’s support of Florida technical education. A quick glance through the grants and grant amounts clearly backs the original premise. You can find out more about the Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program of the National Science Foundation at www.nsf.gov/ate, where you can download their call for proposals. Full proposals are annually due in October. You can contact any of the listed program officers. or contact Marilyn Barger at FLATE (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have an idea for a proposal you want to discuss. NSF ATE is a quiet, continuous supporter and has invested millions of dollars to help Florida’s technical education system reach its potential. That was only the first 10 years, next month we will, to borrow a phrase from Paul Harvey, bring you “the rest of the story.”
The beginning of March brings motor cyclists to Daytona Beach, FL, as well as the NANOSMAT Conference to the University of South Florida at the end of March end. NANOSMAT has rapidly established itself as a premier conference in the field of materials science, engineering, technology, nanoscience and nanotechnology. Since 2005, it has been very successfully organized in several European countries, including Portugal, Spain, Italy and France. The conference fosters the gathering of talented and truly international people to exchange ideas, share new knowledge and technical know-how in the relevant fields.
On March 27, the day before NANOSMAT, the University of South Florida’s nanomedicine and nanobiotechnology Laboratory is hosting a Technology & Innovation Forum. The purpose of the Forum is to provide a broader coverage of the selected topic than is generally possible in a technical scientific conference. The Forum will be of particular interest to educators and Florida teachers and students who can’t attend in person, but can do so via web cast.
Well that’s our Nano-Spring! We hope you can join us and get involved in small scale device technology by attending some, or all of these events. Need details? Visit www.nnrc.usf.edu for information on the Etch Workshop conducted by Plasma-Therm Inc., and http://nano.cas.usf.edu for information on Technoology & Innovation Forum,. You can also send an e-mail to Dr. Marilyn Barger at email@example.com. See you there!!