UNT helping area teachers bring research into the classroom

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

DENTON (UNT), Texas -- Eleven North Texas middle and high school teachers will go from instructors to researchers this summer during a six-week National Science Foundation program at the University of North Texas.

Eleven teachers from the Dallas-Fort Worth area will participate in the University of North Texas' Research Experiences for Teachers in Sensor Networks program beginning June 11. The program gives teachers the opportunity to conduct engineering-based research projects while also learning how to translate their experiences into innovative classroom lessons. The program is funded by a $499,932 grant from the National Science Foundation that started in 2011 and will run through 2013.

"This program is crucial to promote STEM disciplines among high school students in the North Texas area. We critically need our youth to consider engineering among their first choices for college. Engaging their teachers in university research goes a long way in accomplishing this goal," said Dr. Miguel Acevedo, a Regents professor in UNT's Department of Electrical Engineering and coordinator of UNT's Research Experience for Teachers program.

This is the second year that UNT has offered the Research Experience for Teachers program. UNT also ran a pilot program in 2009. This year's participants will use electrical engineering concepts and tools to investigate air and water quality, the impact of emissions on the area's carbon footprint and the ability to equip robots with depth-capable vision.

The eleven participants come from six different school districts and teach subjects from chemistry and algebra to aerospace engineering and aquatic science:

Zachary Bunn, R.L. Turner High School in the Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD José Guerrero, R.L. Turner High School in the Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD Lori Wolf, Navo Middle School in the Denton ISD Jesse C. Bell, Skyline High School in the Dallas ISD Kimberly Garrett, Northwest High School in the Northwest ISD Elizabeth Georgette Jordan, Emmett J. Conrad High School in the Dallas ISD Blaine Chamberlain, Newman Smith High School in the Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD Ashley Sink, Northwest High School in the Northwest ISD Karl Gscheidle, R.L. Turner High School in the Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD Sharon Wood, Marcus High School in the Lewisville ISD Donn Arnold, Krum High School in the Krum ISD

Wood and Arnold, who both participated in the 2009 pilot and the 2011 Research Experience for Teachers, will serve as Master Teachers, helping the other participants make the most of the program.

Both teachers have integrated lessons related to the research projects they completed last year into their courses. Wood used aquatic wireless network sensors to develop a sustainable aquarium system for growing plants and Arnold developed a two-way audio-visual broadcasting system using Wimba and Adobe software that allows teachers and students to interact with researchers at UNT in real-time. Dr. Christina Wasson, of the UNT Anthropology department, who specializes in virtual collaboration, has assessed this innovative education RET tool named "Weblab."

The teachers will be mentored by UNT faculty: Drs. Shengli Fu, Xinrong Li and Kamesh Namaduri from the Department of Electrical Engineering, as well as Drs. Rudi Thompson and David Hoeinghaus from the Department of Biology and Dr. Yan Huang from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. The teachers also will work closely with electrical engineering, computer science, and biology graduate students.

UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108

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