Now in its eighth year, the annual showcase will feature over 250 innovative projects aimed at improving Science, Technology, Math, Engineering and CS education, which have been funded by the National Science Foundation and other federal agencies. During the 8-day event, researchers, practitioners, policy makers and members of the public are invited to view the short videos, discuss them with the presenters online, and vote for their favorites.
The theme for this year’s event is “Access, Inclusion, and Equity.” Video presentations address broadening participation; STEM learning in formal, informal, community and home settings; design and implementation of STEM and CS programs; research informing STEM and CS teaching and learning; and measuring impact of innovative programs. Collectively, the presentations cover a broad range of topics including science, mathematics, computer science, engineering, cyberlearning, citizen science, maker spaces, broadening participation, research experiences, mentoring, professional development, NGSS and the Common Core.
NAPE partners with the University of Illinois through a National Science Foundation grant-funded program CISTEME365. The initiative hypothesizes that intensive experiences with cutting-edge technology must exist all year-round to significantly broaden access and participation in STEM for middle and high school students. The initiative further hypothesizes that providing these types of experiences is insufficient – creating an environment that’s inclusive, equitable, and culturally responsive is also required.
CISTEME365 is unique in that it supports teams of educators to develop their expertise and confidence in the technical aspects of implementing electrical engineering projects in informal settings while also creating a more equitable learning environment for their students. COVID-19 restrictions led to many changes in this project, including a switch to virtual professional development sessions, re-calibrating project materials for virtual (yet hands-on) STEM Clubs, and collaborating with schools to find solutions for remote learning to keep educators, students, and schools invested.
The STEM equity curriculum used in this project comes from the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE) and is facilitated by Dr. Meagan Pollock. The engineering curriculum and the college and career content are facilitated by Dr. Lynford Goddard of The Grainger College of Engineering, the Holonyak Micro & Nanotechnology Lab, and Dr. Lara Hebert of the Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The project was funded by NSF Award# 1850398 to the University of Illinois.