Where we need to be
Development of the final module in the Great Diseases suite will be taken care of by the original NIH-funded project. Meanwhile, in order to capitalize on our success in curriculum development, we need to focus on critical issues of dissemination and sustainability.
Successful implementation requires teachers to become familiar enough with the curricular content to be able to work flexibly with the Socratic discussions that form the bedrock of learning. We have learned that while stand-alone professional development groups do not instill teachers with enough confidence, our intensive mentorship program, which provides ample opportunities for individualized problem solving, does. We have also learned that these personalized interactions are as effective via virtual face-to-face communication (like Skype), obviously opening up the possibility of large-scale dissemination. Structured active learning is key to successfully harnessing the virtual world. Therefore the first major focus of our upcoming activities will be to enhance the interactive component of our online materials, including:
- Interactive tutorials and ‘Mentoring for Fidelity’ programs designed for each of the 4 modules. This will enable teachers to participate in the program irrespective of geographic localization.
- Interactive student workbooks designed for each of the 4 modules that will include embedded formative assessments connected to a teacher ‘dashboard’. This will streamline real-time monitoring of class progress, allowing more classroom time to be spent on inquiry and critical thinking skills.
We have recently found out that development and dissemination of the Infectious Disease Module for the next 5 years (2013 – 2018) will be supported by the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease through a grant 1R25AI098781-01A1 ’Modeling for Fidelity: Mentored Dissemination of a Novel Curriculum about Infectious Disease’ [Project Information]. We are grateful to NIAID and our Program Director Dr Diane Adger-Johnson for their support.
We have demonstrated that successful dissemination of critical health-related topics into the K-12 classroom requires scientists and school districts to collaborate in active partnership. Our Center comprises biomedical scientist PhDs trained to work successfully with school districts, teachers, evaluators and other universities involved in outreach. Therefore the second major focus of our upcoming activities will be to initiate fundraising activities with foundations and corporations to sustain these advances with respect to the other modules by:
- Expanding interactions with other school districts nationwide, thereby enhancing dissemination.
- Expanding interactions activities with educators of pre-service teachers.
- Expanding interactions with developers of technology targeted to interactive on-line learning.
Our Center provides career development opportunities for young, highly trained, biomedical scientists who wish to contribute to improving K-12 science education. Our ultimate goal is to establish a career path that places these talented scientists in school districts, providing leaders trained to provide practical solutions that enhance US science education in the 21st century, bringing benchtop and bedside to desktop.
Contact us to take part.