Teacher-In-Service Programs Expand to Latin America

Lessons cover the basics of electric motors, switches, circuits, simple machines, and more

7 January 2008

For the first time, the IEEE held its Teacher-In-Service Programs (TISPs) in Latin America. TISP relies on IEEE section volunteers lecturing on technical subjects to local preuniversity educators during “in-service” days set aside for continuing education activities. Since the program began in 2001 more than 600 IEEE members have attended.

Lessons cover such things as the basics of electric motors, switches, circuits, and simple machines. The events are aimed at helping teachers to better understand technology so they can encourage their students to pursue technical careers, engineering among them. The events also include a “Why Are We Here?” presentation about the IEEE’s involvement in preuniversity outreach, its preuniversity programs, and how the local IEEE members can help draw more students into the engineering field.

Last August more than 100 people from 13 countries in Latin America attended the TISP session in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The presentations included “Design and Build a Better Candy Bag,” which demonstrated how design can affect the success of a final product—in this case a bag for holding candy. The session titled “Rotational Equilibrium: A Question of Balance” had teams work to determine the force exerted on a mobile design and discuss their findings.

Antonio Ferreira, an IEEE member and associate professor at Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, says that the feedback about the event was helpful in determining whether TISP was on the right track.

“I talked to government and industry representatives as well as university and preuniversity educators, who all had positive things to say about the program,” he says. “That’s when I knew we were going in the right direction with it,” he says.

The IEEE student branch in Piura, Peru, held a two-day TISP event on 4 and 5 August. There were 105 attendees from three countries. Presentations included “Cracking the Code,” which explored the bar-coding process and the design of computerized barcodes, and “Challenges and Opportunities in Peruvian Education.”

TISP events were also held in the United States this past September.

Senior Member William J. Semancik, an engineer with the U.S. Department of Defense and former vice chair of the Baltimore Section, helped coordinate the TISP event held in that city. Forty-five attendees from 11 sections in Region 2 attended “All About Electric Motors,” which demonstrated how electric motors are used, and “Build Your Own Robot Arm.”

Semancik believes that TISP events are especially important now when fewer students are going into technology.

“Rekindling interest in technical fields is important if the United States is going to compete in the global marketplace,” he says.

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