Friday, October 30, 2009

Open Office for Kids

I just learned about OpenOffice for Kids from the Download Squad even though I've used OpenOffice for years.

OpenOffice for Kids is smaller sized, less featured, but easier to use version of OpenOffice. It includes word processing, presentations, and spreadsheets. It is set up with a slightly different menu system with most commonly used functions as larger, more obvious buttons. The smaller file size and less cluttered user interface mean it loads and works faster.

I tried it out and agree with others that it is easy and fast to use and is probably a good choice for people out side of the grade 7-12 target audience.

I think it would be a great piece of software to use on net books also due to the smaller file size and faster loading and running.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

9 Keys to Teaching a Successful Lesson

9 Keys to Teaching a Successful Lesson

I wrote about The Apple once before. It is a great, free resource for teachers.

Today's featured article was "9 Keys to Teaching a Successful Lesson." I agree with all of the author's points and would add a few: make it challenging, but fun; make it exciting; use Understanding by Design as a guideline; and plan in extra time to explore ideas that the students bring up. If they want to explore the topic more, don't deny them their curiosity.

The article also links to some other good tips and ideas.

I recommend that all teachers check out this site.

Monday, October 26, 2009

TechForum NE 2009 was great!

This past Friday I attended TechForum Northeast 2009. Techforum is run by Tech&Learning Magazine and is a great educational technology conference. They hold other ones around the country also.

The keynote speaker for TechForumNE was Chris Lehmann, principal of the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia, PA. The Science Leadership Academy (SLA), is a public, magnet high school that opened in 2006. The school uses technology to the fullest, with every student and teacher having their own laptop. SLA is based on understanding of concepts and project based curriculum, centered around the five core values of inquiry, research, collaboration, presentation, and reflection.

Mr. Lehmann spoke about SLA and it's vision and how it works, but also addressed some global issues for education. He said that school should be a fun, exciting place so that learning can truly exist. A better environment leads to better learning. He said that schools should be creating citizens, not a workforce and that we need to integrate understanding, projects, technology, and collaboration throughout a school. The curriculum should be interdisciplinary so that what happens in period 1 fits with what is happening in period 3. SLA's vision is supported by all of the staff. They "teach students, not a subject". They believe that education should be student centered with teachers as mentors. They believe that learning should be relevant and that students should work in teams to solve problems. To do this, they have created a unique project based curriculum. I was very happy to hear how SLA was implementing project based learning so successfully. I am a big supporter of project based learning and have written extensively about it.

After the keynote speaker, there is a short break for refreshments, visiting vendors, and networking. Then there were breakout sessions. I attended one entitled "Walking the walk" which was a panel discussion about embedding technology directly into the daily life of a school. The panel consisted of Chris Lehmann from the Science Leadership Academy, Alisa Berger and Mary Moss from the iSchool in New York City, and Kim Carter from the Monadnock Community Connections high school in New Hampshire. They all talked about how technology and project based learning have enabled their schools to be successful. I was very interested in the SLA and iSchool and I recommend that all teachers and administrators visit their web sites and see the wonderful things that they are doing.

One of the fun events of the day is the Round table session. This year there were 20 different topics to choose from. Participants choose a topic and go to that table were a facilitator give information and guides the discussion about the topic. This was my second year as a round table facilitator and this year my topic was Google Apps. I also had a co-facilitator, Beth Richards from New York City. The discussion was fun and lively, with advice, tips, and information coming from all participants. You can visit the wiki page, which has links and information, for this discussion HERE.

Every year there is a great variety of vendors present. They have booths set up, where you can try out their products and get more information. The vendors also do presentations during the day to showcase their products. I have found them to be no pressure and very easy to talk to. The vendors also sponsor the end-of-the-day reception (free food and drink is always nice) and have give-aways for the raffle. SMART raffled off a Smartboard/Projector/Speaker system and Quizdom had a wireless tablet. There were also document cameras, books, and DVDs raffled off (free).

In the afternoon break out session, I attended one by Scott Meech, entitled "Life Long Learning Toolbelt." In his presentation, he spoke about how technology professional development is typically run and how it is not successful, and how he thinks things should change. It was a very interactive presentation and the discussion brought out some great ideas for changing technology professional development.

The event is held at the Palisades Conference Center. It is such a great place. It is absolutely beautiful, with high tech meeting rooms and facilities. The food was great. The conference registration fee includes morning snacks (pastries, muffins, coffee, tea, and more), a buffet lunch, dessert, afternoon snacks, and the vendor reception. The food and facility add to the great experience.

Techforum Northeast 2009 was a great day, filled with learning, exploring, and networking. Pictures, videos, and downloads from presentations are available at the conference vault. This year's conference files will be there shortly. You can find some of them HERE. You can also look at resources from past conferences.

I highly recommend these conferences for all teachers and educational technology leaders.

They also have a Virtual TechForum conference coming up on November 17th, 2009. This is a free, on-line conference, that will have presentations, forums to connect with other teachers, and vendor information.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

FETC Virtual Conference Fall 2009 is OPEN NOW!

FETC, the Florida Educational Technology Conference, is a huge national conference held in January. They also run a virtual conference which is OPEN RIGHT NOW!

The virtual conference runs from 10am to 6pm and everything will be archived for future reference if you can't get online today.

The site is easy to navigate and contains video presentations, discussion forums, downloads, vendor sites, and more. It is well worth your time and everything is archived for future download and viewing if you can't attend in real time.

There are even drawings for freebies from the vendors.

You can register for it here and get more information.

I highly recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about educational technology and how it can improve teaching and learning. I "attended" last year's and got a lot of great information and resources, as well as making some connections with colleagues from all over the world.

I was invited to present at FETC 2010, but I am unable to attend due to a back injury that will prevent me from traveling to Florida. I do recommend the conference to others.

Open Culture - 50 Intelligent Video Sites

Open Culture is a great web site that discusses cultural and educational resources on the internet. I have found some great resources on the site and today they posted a list of 50 Intelligent Video Sites.

The article has some sites that I already know about, but some were pleasant surprises.

My favorites were "Academic Earth", "", "Pop!Tech Pop!Cast Videos", and "TED Talks."

All of the sites they list have some great material and Open Culture does a nice job describing each site.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

35 Educational Games and Resources

Free Technology for Teachers just posted a great list of 35 educational games and resources.

There are some great resources on there. He has 35 resources listed, and some of them have multiple games available.

Check it out HERE.

21st Century Skills and Education

There are some great discussions going on at Teach Paperless and Metanoia about 21st Century Skills and 21st Century Education. Below is a compilation of my comments that I have posted on both sites and my thoughts on the topic. There has also been discussions about this on Tech&Learning Magazine's site. I have listed more links at the end of the post.

I feel that 21st century education is more student centered. Students are given a task and then work on it, with the teacher as coach and resource. Project Based Learning is a great way to incorporate this. I am an aerospace engineer and worked as an engineer for 10 years before becoming an educator. I try to have my students do things like I did at work. I try to show them that they will have to be able to find things out for themselves. That they will have to be able to work together as a team and solve problems. I also talk to them about new business trends, world events, and new technologies. I also talk to them about new businesses that are being created.

We can never prepare our students for every specific new thing out there. But, we can give them the skills to be able to adapt to new things. Teach them how to think and solve problems, teach them how to communicate and work together, teach them how to do research and self-teach themselves, and encourage their creativity. Educational technology tools can help us teach students, but they do not automatically make it 21st century education. We can use technology to do things differently (PowerPoint vs. writing on the board), or to do different things (virtual lab or field trip). Instead of the old dioramas and posters, students can create blogs, videos and web sites. Technology can help students explore things and share their work with others.

Technology can also be used to address multiple intelligences. Instead of just written words, students can see videos, sounds, pictures, and interactive demonstrations. Text-to-speech systems can help ELL and struggling students. Technology is also more interesting to students. My students would rather do online, interactive problems than work problems on paper. Same skills learned, but in a different way.

When I think of 21st and 22nd century skills, I think of being able to utilize new technologies and work in new paradigms. However, I see too many educational types using 21st Century skills to mean: project based learning, collaboration, critical thinking, and problem solving. These are things that I was doing as a student many years ago. For me, I see us needing to teach students how to think critically and solve problems, learn on their own, and be creative and adaptable. We should use new technologies and show them how the world is changing so that they can adapt to new things. We can't prepare them for every specific future job or thing, but we can give them base skills that will help them be prepared for anything. I think we need to really define 21st Century Skills better so that this kind of confusion doesn't keep happening (people calling things 21st Century Skills when they are not). Too many people think 21st century skills and 21st century education just means using technology. It is much more than that.

The 21st Century has just begun. We can only imagine what it will bring. Think of the world a hundred years ago, then 50 years ago, and then 25 years ago. Things are changing exponentially and I am excited to see what the future brings. I try to give my students basic skills necessary to adapt to the changes the future may bring. I learned how to type on an electric typewriter. My first computer was a Radio Shack Color Computer. I have learned how to learn on my own. I was taught skills in college that have helped me to adapt to new careers, new technologies, and a new world. I am trying to teach these skills to my students. I'm trying to get them to be creative thinkers and imagine a better world.

One project that I do with students is to have them create a new device, technology or product. They have to talk about the physics behind it, but they can be very creative. They have come up with some great ideas. I encourage them to think about a problem or need in the world and address that. That to me is the epitomy of what the future holds. People solving the world's problems.

We need to give our students the basic skills needed to adapt to a changing world and encourage them to be creative and innovative.

Some more articles I've written on this topic:

Let's keep this discussion going!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Chemistry Resource - The Element Song

Free Technology For Teachers has posted a link to a YouTube video of the famous Element Song. This song has been used by millions of students to learn the elements and their symbols. The video adds images to the song, helping students remember and learn better with the visuals. Share this with all the chemistry teachers you know.

If you can't access YouTube at school, HERE are instructions on how to download the video at home and then bring it to school.

Calculus Lifesaver

A lecturer at Princeton has put together a lecture series on calculus for students.

Share this with your students.

Flying Firsts

PBS has a great site called Flying Firsts. The site is graphical and interactive. As you click through different milestones in flight, you can click on one and it will expand with more details. I use it in a section on flight with my physics class.

Flying Firsts is part of the Scientific American Frontiers section of PBS's site. This section has a lot of great educational resources relating to science.

PBS has a lot of other great educational resources at their PBS Teachers site.

Web 2.0 Cool Tools for Schools

Web 2.0: Cool Tools for Schools is a site I learned about from NCS-Tech (which is a great edtech resource too). Cool Tools for Schools has a listing of hundreds of educational technology and web 2.0 tools that teachers and students can use in their classroom.

The resources are sorted by categories such as "presentation", "music", "collaborative", and "research". There are 18 categories, plus a "Teacher's Resources" page with lesson plans, books, games, and more.

I spent about an hour going through the site and found it to be a great place to go for resources. Definitely a site to bookmark.

Another good resource for finding Web 2.0 tools is Go2Web20. Cool Tools for Schools is organized for educational uses, while Go2Web20 is set up for any industry.

Monday, October 19, 2009

PowerPoint Tutorial

PowerPoint in the Classroom is a great resource for those just learning PowerPoint or those who want to learn more about it and how to use it in the classroom.

It is really easy to use. You can go through it in a specific order by clicking "1" and then clicking "next" when done with each page. Or, you can jump around using the navigation.

This is also a good site to share with students who are starting to learn PowerPoint.

Google Accessibility

Google Accessibility is Google's effort to make information available to everyone, regardless of disability. They have created alternative access models to help people with visual impairment, color deficiency, deafness, and limited dexterity. They have created keyboard shortcuts, video captions, high contrast video, text-to-speech, and more.

They have created talking RSS Readers for their mobile Android platform, as well as adding accessibility support to their Google Chrome web browser.

You can find a list of all of the accessibility resources HERE.

These accessibility resources are great for special education classes, special needs students, and ELL students.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Virtual, LIVE, College Fairs

Not every student can visit every college they want to. Not every college will show up at the local college fair. College fairs can be noisy, crowded, and difficult to navigate. Some students get too nervous to talk to college reps at a fair. So skip them and try a virtual, live college fair instead.

Educationxpo and CollegeWeekLive are two sites that I found out about today. They both have upcoming, live on-line events and both have a large number of colleges participating. What is nice is that college reps will be online live to answer questions from students. There is a lot of information available about each college and the two sites both have other resources and references available on them.

Educationxpo has a live event coming up on November 12th, 2009.

CollegeWeekLive's next live event is November 4-7, 2009.

Take a look around the sites now, share them with others, and register for the FREE events.

Disney Planet Challenge

Disney has a great, free, contest for students in grades 4-6 in the United States. Disney's Planet Challenge is a project based environmental competition that helps students learn about science, conservation and teamwork.

The friendly competition has ready made curriculum and lesson resources and the site is very easy to use and navigate. Everything you need to know is on the site. Curriculum and contest resources are also available for download in PDF form.

The curriculum and resources were designed by scientists and educators. You can tell that teachers had a hand in the development because of the way things are written and set up. It is very easy to implement.

There are some really great prizes (grants!! $$$) and the grand prize is grant money, NSTA membership and conference attendance, prize packs for the students, and an all expense paid trip to the Disneyland Resort for the teacher, principal, students, and chaperone's. Not bad for a free contest.

Eligibility is 4th, 5th, or 6th graders, or a combination, in a class or club in the USA. 40 students maximum in the class or club.'

While the contest is only open to grades 4-6, teachers of other grades could use the materials as a guide for their own projects.

Deadline to enroll is Friday, December 18th 2009 at 1200am PST. (I'd make sure I have the enrollment done a few days before that).

All project portfolio's are due by February 26th, 2010. Winners will be announced in April 2010.

Check it out and Good Luck!!

Getting Started with Educational Technology

(cross posted at Tech&

(Picture downloaded from on 10-16-09)

Technology is a wonderful thing. As a former engineer, and current physics teacher and educational technology specialist, I love technology. I read 6 or 7 technology magazines, follow 20+ technology web sites and blogs, and am always looking for new ways to use technology in my life and in my classroom. My father is a retired chemist. He loves technology too. He got us a Radio Shack Color Computer back in the day to use at home. I took programming classes in high school and college. Technology use comes easy to me. I love to just dive in and try out a new technology. I love technology. That's me. That's some people. That's not everyone.

Many teachers are not like me. They do not find technology easy to understand or easy to implement. They are not comfortable with it. Or, they may like technology and use it to some degree, but don't know how to get started with using it in their classrooms.

There is a tremendous amount of great technology out there that can be used in the classroom to help the teacher and student. Technology can make you more efficient, open up new activities for your students, allow you and your students to explore virtual worlds, and allow your students to do more projects and share their work with others. But, where do you start?

There are times that I am overwhelmed at everything out there. I have a long list of web sites and technologies that I want to look into and try out, but I just don't have the time.

My suggestion to colleagues is to think of something that you would like to do differently in your class or that you would like to do that you haven't been able to do yet. Do you want to communicate better with parents and students? Do you want to be more organized? Do you want a class web site? Do you want your students to do new activities? Once you have picked one thing, do a search for that idea or topic. I'm partial to Google, but you can use what ever search engine you want. Look for articles and reviews about the different products out there. I always tell people to try free stuff first. Why pay for it if you don't have to?

Once you have selected something. Try it on your own at home or during a prep period. Look at it from the perspective of a teacher first, and then as a student. Is this something that will make my life easier and more efficient? Will this expose my students to something new? Will this allow my students to learn better? If you think it is worth trying with your students, give it a shot. Then, see how things went. Do an assessment of the technology after using it. Ask the students what they thought of the activity. Check to see if it helped them learn the topic. Analyze it just like you would analyze and assess any lesson you do.

I also suggest that you have a back up plan in case something goes wrong. If the technology doesn't work the way you thought it would, fails, or the students have trouble understanding it. Just like any other day, a backup plan for your lesson is a life saver. As an example, our building lost internet service for about 30 minutes the other day. Luckily, I had a backup plan for my lessons and for my technology use.

Professional development is another way to learn about technology. Check your district offerings, look for regional training, go to conferences (like TechForum), and do some self-directed development by reading and researching on your own.

If you are reading this article, then you know about Tech & Learning Magazine. This is a great place to get ideas and tips about technology. Read the blogs. Comment on articles. Ask questions. There are also a huge number of blogs written by teachers that have resources, tips and ideas about using technology. Here is a list of my favorites: (Tech&Learning is a given) - My blog on educational technology.
At the end of the article, I also have links to a few specific articles to help you get started with technology. - Free Technology For Teachers - one of the best technology blogs around. - George Lucas Educational Foundation - Technology Horizons in Education

You can also ask other teachers about what they use in their classrooms. Ask students about what they use at home. Have them do some research on things to use in class. I love hearing from my students about technology because they are looking at it with a different frame of reference than I am. They also know how to use Social Networking technologies and most of them would love to use something similar in school / class.

When you are looking at technology, think about what you want the technology to do for you: make you more efficient (Evernote, Google Apps), provide new avenues of discussion (blogs), resources for students (web site), experience new things (internet - web sites, virtual tours, virtual labs) and then look for a technology that can do what you are looking for.

When you are analyzing and assessing technology, think of this: If it makes you more efficient, engages the students and/or helps them learn, than it is a good thing.

Remember that technology is your friend. Start small and try one thing at a time. Then try something new. Have fun and explore what's out there.

Please share more ideas, tips, and resources in the comment section.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

UPDATE to "Play YouTube Videos in Classroom"

Many school system block Youtube because of the multitude of bad videos on there. The problem this causes is that teachers can't show the good videos in class. And there are a lot of great videos on YouTube that teachers can use - lectures, demonstrations, news, and more. I've had many teachers ask me if there is a way to save the video at home and then play it at school. Here is my way of doing it, there are others. Everything I list is free.

Google owns YouTube, so even Google Video is blocked.

1. You need a way to download the video. I use a user script in Google Chrome to do this. You can find the script and instructions HERE. You then go to the YouTube video and click the bookmarklet that you just created and the video will download.

The second script is the better one because it will save the video in MP4 format, which can be played by most media player software. If you use this script, you will not need to convert the video.

If you use Internet Explorer v7, you should download and install IE7Pro. Then, follow these instructions to set it up to allow you to download YouTube videos. When you go to the YouTube video you will see a "download video" link on the web page near the video information. Click on that and save the video.

2. Now, the videos you just saved are in .flv format (Flash Video). You will want to convert them to play directly on your media player. Since we are talking about Windows (since I don't use a Mac) you should convert the video files into Windows Media Player files. Windows Media Player is on all Windows computers.

To convert the videos I use WM Converter. It can be downloaded for free HERE. The other sites are blocked at my school, but you can also try THIS ONE and THIS OTHER ONE.

Open WM Converter, select your input file (the video) then click on "convert to WMV/Zune" and "quality - Better". Select "convert" and let it run. You should also select your location for your converted files before converting.

You now have a YouTube video file that you can put on a CD, Flash Drive, email to yourself, or post to your site and then download at school to use.

It would be easier to just be able to play the video from YouTube, but, alas, that is not an option at many schools.

Good luck.

UPDATE, 10-14-09:

Another script you can use in Google Chrome is:

javascript:window.location.href = '' + window.location.href;

To install the script, right click on the shortcut bar in Chrome, then click "Add Page" and then name the shortcut something like "Download Video". Then paste the script into the URL field and then click"ok".

This script will allow you to download any video on a web site.

You can also use GrabThatVideo. This site does the work for you. You find the video on YouTube. Let it load up and then copy the URL into the GrabThatVideo site and viola, your video is downloaded. Then just bring it into school on a flash drive and you are all set to go.

If you know of any others, post them in the comments.

Of course, the easiest thing would be for schools to allow teachers to have access to YouTube. You could have teacher login's allowed to access YouTube and have it blocked with student logins. Then, teachers would just have to make sure that they don't leave their computer unattended while still logged in.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Some more great Resources from Free Tech 4 Teachers

Free Technology For Teachers, one of my favorite sites, has two posts today that I found very interesting.

The first is about a great currency resource that let's students compare currency around the world.

The second is about Weebly, which is a free resource that let's teachers set up blogs and web sites for their students.

A great resource for teachers

The Apple is a great resource for teachers. The site contains articles, how-to's, helpful information, career guidance, lesson plans, and ways to connect with other teachers. The site is easy to navigate and I found a lot of great resources on it. If you register (free), you will be able to take advantage of discounts from their partners, as well as participate in the social networking parts of the site.

The site is part of

Two really good articles that are especially timely, are 10 Things Parents Won't Tell Teachers and 10 Things Your Students Won't Tell You.

I figured they are timely because it's early in the school year and parent conferences will be upon us soon.

Getting started with Blogger and Google Sites

I use Blogger for this blog, and for my class blogs. I have a blog for each class and I post assignments, announcements, reminders, and links on the site. Students can also post questions and have discussions. Here is the link to my AP Physics class blog as a reference.

I use Google Sites for my class website, which I use to post reference information, links, resources, and files for download. Many of my colleagues ask me how to do this, so I figured I would put up some links on how to get started using Blogger and Google Sites.

Both Blogger and Google Sites are extremely easy to use. You will need to create a Google Account first. I suggest you go to Gmail and create a Gmail account and use that for all of your Google correspondence. Once you have a Google Account through Gmail, you can use that for all Google Products. I also use Google Chrome Web Browser, iGoogle, Picasa, Google Desktop, Google Maps, Google Search, Google Docs, and Google Mobile products.

Getting Started with Blogger:
Go to and create a blog. Blogger will guide you through the process. It is beyond simple. Once you have named your blog and picked a layout, you will ready to go. If you can use the internet and use word processing software, you can create your blog.

Getting Started with Google Sites:
Go to Google Sites and create a web page. Google sites will guide you through the process. It is beyond simple. Once you have named your site and picked a design, you will ready to go. If you can use the internet and use word processing software, you can create a website.

Articles I have done about Blogger and Google Sites

General Google Information and Resources:

Have some fun and play with Blogger and Google Sites. As you get more comfortable with them, you will be able to do much more with them. Good luck!

Convert Video Files to DVD

I love to use videos and video clips to help explain concepts in my classes and as a teaching tool. Most of the videos I use I get from online sources, whether it is Discovery Streaming, YouTube, GoogleVideo, or even from textbook resources.

The problem is that I don't always want to show them through the computer. It would be nice to show them on a DVD player. Other teachers have asked me to help them put these kinds of videos onto DVD. I found a great way from Online Tech Tips.

Here is a summary of the steps. The post at Online Tech Tips has more details. But it is really simple to do. For information on saving YouTube videos from the site, see THIS article.
  1. Make sure video is in Windows Media Player format (WMV)
  2. DVD Flick > Add Title to convert to DVD file and folder structure
  3. Keep adding video files until done, or DVD is full
  4. Select Destination Folder
  5. "Create DVD"
  6. ImgBurn > "Write Files/Folders to Disc"
  7. Browse for folder - DVD with Audio and Video subfolders that you saved DVD files to in step 4
  8. Insert blank DVD and select "Build It"
That's it. The detailed instructions are at Online Tech Tips. This article also talks about creating your own video using Windows Movie Maker.


Phone Number Dialing Change for Connecticut Reminder

Remember, starting November 14th, you must dial the area code for EVERY number you call, including local ones. This is because they had to add two more area codes in CT.

For more information, go to the State's Site on this.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Great idea for technology and kids

I saw this ARTICLE in the local paper today. A mother designed a system to work with cellphones to prevent their use in a car. What I like the most about it is that it is really geared towards teen drivers, who are most likely to use their cell phone and text while driving.
The system is called the iZUP. The iZUP will be available online at next month. A single device will cost $4.95 a month or $49.95 year or a family plan with three or more devices will cost $5.95 a month or $59.95 a year.

I will be mentioning this to parents of my students and talking to my students about texting and using cell phones while driving. In my physics classes I can relate this to forces and the damage and impact makes. In the EMT class, I show them the results of accidents from distracted drivers.

While this is not a free resource, it is very worthwhile.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

WPI Open House

WPI (Worcester Polytechnic Institute), my alma mater (Aerospace Engineering, 1992), is having an open house for high school students next Monday, Columbus Day. WPI is a great school and has been recognized for its innovative programs and curriculum. They are mainly a science, math, engineering, and technology university, but also have humanities majors. The WPI Plan is a project based curriculum that the university has used for decades, and includes 3 major projects and a unique class schedule. Here is another article that I wrote about it.

I always recommend WPI to students looking at science, math, engineering, or technology fields. The school is small, but has excellent facilities and resources, allowing students to really explore their chosen field of study.

Here is the announcement:

WPI to Host Columbus Day Open House for High School Students

Worcester Polytechnic Institute's Office of Admissions offers several ways for high school students and their families to learn more about the university and see the beautiful campus. One way is through Open House events, where high school students can get a comprehensive look at campus, including academics, student life, athletics, admissions, and financial aid. Through this experience, prospective students also have the opportunity to ask questions of staff, faculty and students. The next Open House will be held on Columbus Day, Monday, Oct. 12, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The agenda for our October Open House is available. Please note that sessions and locations may change before the event, and prospective students should obtain a printed copy of the agenda upon their arrival.

Check-in for the Open House is at Harrington Auditorium.

Please pre-register for your Open House visit. If you are unable to attend one of the Open Houses, you may consider WPI's other opportunities to visit.

We look forward to seeing you on campus!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Engineering Resources

Engineering is a very important career for our world, yet enrollment in engineering programs is decreasing, especially by American students. I was an Aerospace Engineer (WPI '92) for 10 years before becoming an educator and I try to encourage my Physics students to go into engineering. I am also a CPEP teacher. CPEP is an after school program in CT for students interested in engineering. CPEP provides curriculum and materials to give students hands-on project experience.

Local companies are also a great resource for educators. Have engineers come in to your class and talk about what they do. Take a field trip to the company's facility. I am lucky to have Sikorsky Aircraft nearby. The engineers are really good about coming into schools and the company loves to have groups come in for a tour. Some smaller companies in the area have also been great resources, including Alinabal.

I have compiled a list of engineering resources for educators. Each of these sites have information about engineering, the career, and educational resources. I have found them all to be great resources. One not on the list is NASA. NASA also has great educational resources, many of which are geared towards engineering.

Dept of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Engineers - great information about the career, job outlooks, salaries, and more.

American Society for Engineering Education - great resource with information about all types of engineering, educator resources, and more.

Engineering - Go For It! - this site is produced by the ASEE (see above) and is completely devoted to promoting engineering. It has resources for educators and students, as well as lessons and career exploration resources.

American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics - has resources for aerospace engineering careers. Educators can join for free and get even more resources.

Society of Automotive Engineers - has resources about engineers dealing with the automotive industry.

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineer - resources about engineers in the electronics and electrical engineering.

Engineering Challenges - this site lists and explores the greatest challenges facing engineers in regards to world issues. This is a great site to use as a starting point for your own classroom projects.

Discover Engineering - another great site that explores engineering as a career.

Connecticut Resources:

CT Business and Industry Association - CBIA has an education section. They have a great resource about Engineering. The site also has videos you can show to your students.

Next Generation Manufacturing Center - this is a cooperative group of manufacturers, CBIA and CT's Community Colleges. They work to get more students interested in engineering and manufacturing. There are some great videos on the site, too. They have a lot of great programs, including the Engineering Challenge. They also sponsor summer externships for teachers. These externships pay teachers to spend the summer at a local manufacturing company learning about their industry and coming up with ways to get more students involved in engineering and manufacturing. I was able to participate two years ago and found it to be a great experience.

Please share any resources you have and spread the word to your students about engineering. Even the President has said that students should avoid careers as lawyers and accountants, and instead look at engineering, science, and education.


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