Loras College announced today the receipt of a grant from the Verizon Foundation in the amount of $77,000 to support STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education.
The grant submission was a collaboration of Provost Cheryl Jacobsen, STEM faculty and the Loras Education Division to enhance the education of current and pre-service STEM educators by upgrading technology, including mobile technology.
The Verizon partnership with Loras College builds on an 11-year record of high level professional development for middle school STEM teachers in Eastern Iowa and strength in educating pre-service STEM teachers and professionals. Through a campus program also currently being supported by the State of Iowa Department of Education, teachers and pre-service teachers are being educated in the Next Generation Science Standards. Teachers, participate in 100 hours of summer workshops and receive ongoing support through the year. The ultimate goal is to impact student performance.
In the grant application, Loras College requested technology not funded by the state to provide teachers and pre-service teachers opportunities to explore, test and apply new applications for teaching math and science, including mobile use of Verizon Thinkfinity.
The Loras STEM disciplines have a long history of supporting K-12 teachers and efforts to reform STEM curricula. In 2004, the College hosted the final national meeting of the NSF-AMS Mathematics and Education Reform (MER) project, and has hosted Lesson Study fairs with participants coming from Iowa, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Japan. Members of the faculty also regularly provide outreach to area classrooms.
To further assist in educating future STEM teachers, as part of this grant, Loras also will aid scientific learning with chemistry computer modeling hardware and software and much needed technology for biology, physics, physiology, neuroscience and environmental science, allowing faculty opportunities to integrate mobile, web-based applications across the science and education curricula. These new tools partner with traditional laboratory activities and take advantage of the fact that Loras is a laptop campus, providing student access to these resources anytime and anywhere. Anticipated outcomes include better understanding of the material by and expanded research opportunities for students.