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Technology Training, Robots, Ham Radio -- What More Could Teachers Want?

from The ARRL Letter on August 8, 2013
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Hands-On Technology Training, Robots, Ham Radio -- What More Could Teachers Want?

Educators from across the US who attend the ARRL's Teachers Institutes on Wireless Technology enjoy the challenge and amaraderie of these professional development workshops. More important, they acquire knowledge and skills to help their students grasp the essentials of radio science, basic electronics, robotics, space and satellite communication technology and, of course, Amateur Radio. Funded through the generosity of donors, the ARRL Education & Technology Program (ETP created the Teachers Institutes to offer educators hands-on training and experience with wireless technology fundamentals that will enable them to integrate wireless technology instruction into their classrooms. According to the teachers attending, they did just that.

"I have never come away from a professional development feeling like the course was designed to actually get us to use what was taught," said recent workshop participant Glen Hanneman, KJ6BQK. "The amount of training, resources, and networking opportunities the TI workshop afforded me is astounding! Having vertical integration with colleagues from fifth grade to junior college gave me a great perspective on how the technology instructional progression runs."

ARRL Headquarters in Newington, Connecticut, and Parallax Inc in Rocklin, California hosted "Introduction to Wireless Technology" sessions this year, and two dozen teachers from 14 states took advantage of the opportunity.

"Educators from around the nation seem to have the same challenges getting [technology] into the classroom as I have, no matter the grade level," said Hanneman, who took part in the California workshop. Nine participants at that session already had Amateur Radio licenses, but a ham ticket is not a requirement for enrollment.

Tommy Gober, N5DUX, an instructional technologist at LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas, taught the California workshop, held July 15-18. He demonstrated a ham radio "fox hunt" and a successful ham radio contact with the SaudiSat-1C (SO-50) satellite. Workshop participants also got a bird's eye view of Earth via the NOAA-19 (NOAA-N Prime) satellite. "Several [teachers] were instantly hooked as soon as you could make out the peninsula in the Baja Mexico and the Gulf of California," Gober recounted.

ARRL Education & Technology Program Director Mark Spencer, WA8SME, instructed the TI session at ARRL Headquarters July 8-11. Eight participants were hams. In the workshops' robotics section teachers build and program a Parallax Boe-Bot On the floor of ARRL Headquarters' main hallway, Spencer created a black electrical tape maze in the shape of the letter "E." Teachers practiced programming the Boe-Bots to stay within the line, in the process learning the fundamentals of BASIC programming.

Teacher Elizabeth Frank, attended the workshop at Parallax. "Attending the TI has been one of the best experiences of my life," she said. "I signed up in order to learn more about the science behind wireless communications and to gain confidence in introducing ham radio into my classroom. The Institute has surpassed my expectations for both of these goals."

Gordon Romney, AG2G, said he was grateful to have been selected to participate in a TI. "I learned new concepts in so many areas. Please thank the donors, ARRL and Parallax for making this program possible."

Your support of the ARRL Education & Technology Program will help ARRL to continue this important educational initiative. Read more


The ARRL Letter

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