The status of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education in the United States has been well publicized and documented. The United States is not meeting its current or projected needs for engineers and scientists with ominous portents for our nation’s future and posterity.
Headquartered at the Fayette Institute of Commerce and Technology in Uniontown Pennsylvania, nCASE is an outgrowth of the Center for the Advancement of STEM Education (CASE), which was established in June 2006 with funding from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), National Defence Education Program (NDEP). nCASE continues to be a response to President Bush’s 2006 State-of-the-Union Address during which he announced the American Competitiveness Initiative (ACI) to encourage American innovation and strengthen our nation’s ability to compete in the global economy. This ambitious strategy increased federal investment in critical research as part of its efforts to ensure that the U.S. continues to lead the world in opportunity and innovation and provide American children with a strong foundation in math and science.
nCASE believes that a comprehensive and balanced program is needed; one that excites the curiosity of learners and that trains and supports teachers as they adopt new and effective instructional strategies.
One promising teaching innovation is inquiry- and design-based instruction (I&D). Although the methodology has roots that can be traced back to John Dewey, it has never been practiced on a wide scale in America’s STEM classrooms. But, now the approach is experiencing a resurgence of interest and vitality. Teachers are being trained in the method, and instructional materials are being created to support their efforts in the classroom.
Training includes use of the latest technology and cutting-edge best practices to better prepare teachers for the 21st-century classroom. A variety of instructional tools are utilized, including Materials World Modules (MWM), developed by Dr. Robert Chang of Northwestern University, and DimensionM, developed by DimensionU formerly Tabula Digita of Virginia. The Center is training teachers to integrate current technology, such as: iPods, digital cameras, cell phones, educational “games,” etc.
The youth of today are completely comfortable with every aspect of technology. These “millennials” are technically literate like no generation before them. Thus, classrooms cannot be conducted as they were in the past. Teachers have no choice but to fully integrate technology into their curricula if they hope to keep their students excited about learning.
A unique component of nCASE’s training is its incorporation of DoD STEM professionals. nCASE works with designated DoD laboratories across the nation to integrate their scientists and engineers (S&Es) into the training process with the educators. This creates mutual respect for one another’s perspectives, experiences and areas of expertise. Following training, the S&Es visit the classrooms of their local nCASE-trained teachers (when possible) and provide a "real-world" perspective to the classroom, which brings the STEM instruction to life.
A support system includes a variety of mechanisms designed to ensure that the teachers and S&Es are able to use the new tools and techniques they have learned. Center support includes demonstration projects, teacher training, research opportunities, and ongoing trainer assistance.
nCASE works with partners from around the country to create teacher training programs that immerse teachers and students in activities associated with inquiry- and design-based learning, supplement the normal science and mathematics curriculum and introduce engineering processes to the classroom learning environment.
Achieving global excellence by motivating young minds to solve tomorrow’s challenges with innovations in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
To create more science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professionals in the United States, there must be a concerted and united effort to connect businesses, governments, universities, schools, teachers, scientists, engineers, parents, and students.
Our vision is to increase the interest and engagement of young people in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) by providing resources to schools, teachers and students. Our focus is to identify what works and what is needed and to find innovative solutions for current and emerging challenges in STEM Education.