Teaching More Teachers

A look at the latest workshops from the IEEE Teacher In-Service Program

7 November 2008

IEEE volunteers from six countries formed the latest groups to participate in a pair of IEEE Teacher In-Service Program training workshops. Through TISP, IEEE volunteers are trained how to share their technical expertise with preuniversity teachers and show them how to apply engineering concepts, along with hands-on projects for the students, to improve how science, math, and technology are taught in the classroom. Educators also attend. During the past eight years, TISP has trained about 900 IEEE volunteers who have worked with more than 1800 teachers. The IEEE Educational Activities department, which oversees TISP, estimates that about 200 000 students from around the world have been affected by the program since its inception in 2001.

In September, 125 people from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay met in Cordoba, Argentina, to participate in a two-day TISP training workshop. Argentina had realized several years ago that it faced a serious problem teaching preuniversity science and math, and the government has been working to improve its programs.

“TISP arrived in Cordoba at the right time to help us continue this effort,” says Senior Member Pablo Recabarren, secretary of the IEEE Cordoba Subsection, who has been involved in TISP activities since last year. “The invited educators who attended the event reacted very positively,” he says. “Since the workshop, five of them contacted us about helping them get funding so that they can buy the materials to run the projects in their classrooms.”

Another two-day workshop held in September, in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, attracted 66 attendees. “The workshop had such a positive impact that we are organizing a meeting with another 20 or so science, technology, engineering, and math teachers to share what we learned,” says attendee Dipwatee Maharaj of Trinidad and Tobago’s Ministry of Education, who is responsible for curriculum development. She reports she is in the process of hand-picking a committee to address how science, math, and technology can best be taught in her country at the preuniversity level.

Anna Singh, a preuniversity teacher from Trinidad who was at the workshop, calls the TISP initiative “a tremendous resource that can improve teachers’ practice since it provides real problems for them to work with.”

“The lesson plans explored during the session provided excellent examples of materials that can challenge students’ thinking more than do lessons taught in traditional classes,” Singh says.

More than 50 lesson plans can be downloaded for free at here.

More than 120 volunteers and nearly 30 educators have registered for the next TISP training workshop, which is scheduled for this month in San Francisco. For more information about TISP or for access to engineer and educator resources, visit IEEE's preuniversity Web page.

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