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Center for STEM Research

NYSTEN
(New York State Technology Education Network)

The NYSTEN Project has successfully met its goal of establishing a state-wide network of matthematics, science and technology (MST) teams that have provided workshops in technology education with a focus on MST. The following goals were stated in the project--we have accomplished these goals, added additional ones, and have accomplished those.

Proposed GoalsAccomplishment
1. Equip a leadership group of mentors with enhanced pedagogical, technical and leadership skills in order that they might conduct exemplary inservice education programs for Technology Education teachers and other members of the school and local community. The leadership group of mentors has been identified and the first second summers of enhancement workshops are completed. 94 of proposed 96 mentors were recruited in 20 teams as were 20 community partners for each team.
2. Make regional inservice education available to all 3200 NYS Technology Education teachers. Regional workshops have been run by NYSTEN teams across New York. The workshops were available to teachers from all three disciplines, mathematics, science and technology education. Ninty workshops have been conducted. The mentors satisfy the geographic distribution for statewide workshops.
3. Facilitate the integration of MST and foster the collaboration among teachers from the three disciplines. The team has science and mathematics mentors and the advisory council has members from the state association leadership in mathematics and science.
4. Enhance the MST capabilities of middle and high school students through Technology Education programs that build cooperative learning skills and draw connections among science, math and technology. The mentors are using the materials and pedagogies in their classes enhancing the technological capabilities of their students as well as the cooperative learning skills and the interconnections between mathematics, science and technology.
5. Enhance local school and community understanding of Technology Education programs and broaden the base of support for program improvement. Teams, in conjunction with their community partner, have made presentations about NYSTEN and technology education before school and community groups.
6. Establish connections with existing professional and staff development networks in Mathematics and Science education. Connections have been made with other state systemic initiatives. NYSTEN is a member of the state MST Network, a network that links all the state MST initiatives.
7. Develop an Implementation and Resource Guide for mentors that provides instructional frameworks which infuse pedagogical advancements into the delivery of up-to-date technical content. A draft of the Implementation and Resource Guide (IRG) was developed in the summer of 1994 by the initial mentors and subsequently refined by a subgroup of the mentors in light of comments regarding its use in the classroom.
8. Establish a dissemination network involving leadership teams from 15 other states other than New York. Sixty-one representatives from 16 states participated in NYSTEN in the summer of 1996.
9. Monitor the success of the project through continual formative assessment and summative evaluation. The project has continuous assessment and feedback performed by Dr. Penelope Haile.
10. Suipport current reform leading to systemic change in NY State's education system. The project directly supports new state initiatives in MST.
Additional Goals in Response to Requests of Workshop Attendees & Mentors
11. Offer to provide in-depth workshops on NYSTEN activities in response to desire by initial workshop attendees in the summer of 1996. Eight regional extended workshops were run and 120 teachers attended.
12. Provide extra dissemination to MST teams within New York State by providing a week overview of NYSTEN activities in the summer of 1996. Sixty teachers were recruited, with 52 eventually attending, a week-long introduction to NYSTEN activities.
13. Provide NYSTEN mentor support for SURR (Schools Under Registration Review) schools in the Bronx in conjunction with the NY State Education Department. NYSTEN provided partial support for a mentor to assist MST teams at SURR schools. SED contnbuted funds for supplies and teams attended Hofstra in third summer week.
14. Apply for continued support of the NYSTEN network with NYS Eisenhower funding. Application was made for continued support with Eisenhower funding, however the proposal was not among those selected due to reduced allocation from the federal government. NYSTEN teams form part of Eisenhower follow-on MST funding with three other universities--St. Johns, Queens College and Lehman College.

NYSTEN (New York State Technology Education Network

Adaptive Response

Perhaps the most important characteristic of the NYSTEN's project management is the characteristic of adaptive response. This means that we took corrective action to the original plan based on feedback from the mentors. We were able to achieve all our goals, as indicated previously, and did so in a way that involved the mentors in the decision-making process, which, in turn, created a very cohesive mentoring network. Without this characteristic, it is unlikely that the project would have achieved all its goals. The following indicate some of the manifestations of this characteristic.

Case One: In the original project design, the second year was characterized by 5 weeks of enhancement at Hofstra; four weeks for teacher enhancement in content and pedagogy and one week of interaction with the community partner. By the end of the first summer, a 4 week enhancement effort, the mentors protested that four weeks was too long to be away from home and family and that recruiting of colleagues would be extremely difficult. The feedback from possible community partner contacts indicated that they would be adverse to spending a week in the summer at Hofstra. A satisfactory solution was created wherein the second summer would be three and one-half weeks long and the community partner week would be shifted to a long weekend in the fall. The three and one-weeks were created by starting on a Sunday and ending on a Saturday, thus creating 17 days of enhancement, versus the 20 days originally proposed. The fall meeting was three days for the community partners, two days for the mentors. Approval was obtained from the NSF project director before implementation.

Case Two: The Advisory Board and the mentors reported the need for extended workshops; teachers wanted more in-depth coverage of the NYSTEN activities than one day could afford. The original proposal did not include multi-day workshops on one topic. The project management offered mentors the opportunity to conduct four-day workshops on any of the NYSTEN activities if they could attract a minimum of 10 attendees. There have been eight four-day workshops run in the summer of 1996. Importantly, two of these workshops were in New York City, with a combined attendance of 57. We did not stop here. Because of the demand from across the state and from NYC, we added an extra week to the summer 1996 schedule. During this week, 52 teachers were brought to Hofstra for enhancement in NYSTEN activities. Half of the teachers were from NYC.

Case Three: The project did not include special provisions for New York City schools, though that was always a priority with the project management. In the beginning of the third year of the project, the NYS Education Department came to us with a request to participate with them in helping SURR (Schools Under Registration Review) schools. A NYSTEN mentor volunteered to act as a consultant to MST teams in four SURR schools in the Bronx, helping them formulate plans and involving them with NYSTEN activities, so they can implement same in the 1996-97 academic year. NYSED is providing support in terms of supplies for next year, the school district covered part of the NYSTEN mentor's support and NYSTEN covered the other portion. On June 5th, NYSED hosted a conference for SURR schools at Pfizer in Manhattan, keynoting the success of the NYSTEN/NYSED approach. Teachers were given the opportunity to attend Hofstra for a week of enhancement in July of 1996.

Case Four: Internet and email access was an important part of the NYSTEN project. Initially the NYSED was providing free access with a text-based browser and an 800 number. The 800 number was important for mentors living in remote parts of the state. Because of budget cutbacks, the state system was terminated, but the project management had been able to procure free Internet access from Netcom. This graphics browser was available to the 50 mentors with DOS based computers for one year and is currently available to all 94 mentors for an additional six months.

Case Five: The summer of 1996 was originally to be two weeks long; one week with mentors for leadership training and critiquing of the IRG and one week with out-of-state teams for dissemination. The additional third week has already been noted. The first week was modified in light of mentor feedback, to include 2-5 period class activities in MST that our mentors had created as a result of their NYSTEN enhancement. Sixteen, three-hour, workshops were run in two days of the first week providing MST perspectives from mathematics, science and technology education.

Case Six: The project had a large cost share from industry. There were problems in obtaining the promised cost share from Autodesk, but we were able to develop a comparable, and in our view a better cost share from CADKEY. We did not stop and constantly sought additional support throughout the course of the project. The original cost-share support has been detailed in the earlier annual reports. The following represents additional cost-share not previously discussed: Interactive Image Technologies (Electronics Workbench)--$46,190; Denaba Software (Canvas)--$49,344; Netcom (Internet Access)--$16,400; Fishertechnik (computer control)--$15,000.

Perspectives and Hindsight

The initial project design had us recruit people with certain technical expertise from across the state, attempting to satisfy geographic and demographic goals. It is very difficult to assess the ability/competency/technical expertise of people without personal contact and knowledge. We believe it would be wiser to relax the geographic distribution requirement for the initial phase of developing the IRG; of course, the geographic distribution is essential in creating the network. Also, we would recommend that there be an increased ratio of math and science teachers to technology education teachers in the first year. The reason for this is the group of 32 mentors divided into teams to create IRG activities in four technical areas; however, they divided again into subgroups as the team of eight was too large to write the activities. This meant that there were insufficient math and science mentors to be a part of each subgroup.

During the time the project was conceived and commenced, there have been state and national shift to pay more attention to MST interconnections. The project reflected this shift and MST became a more predominant pedagogy than one of five. In New York, the MST Frameworks have been adopted by the NYS Regents and NYSTEN has been able to effectively show how MST activities can be used in the classroom. Should a similar project be initiated at this point, the connections between the three disciplines would be one predominant feature. The word connections is used, rather than integration, as integrated activities, with expected teacher competencies in all three disciplines, are difficult to achieve. However, expecting teachers to denote the connections to the other two disciplines is achievable and we have had demonstrated success with our mentors in their using NYSTEN activities and modifying their own activities to reflect the interconnections.

The activities that were developed in the first year probably require too much class time for the adoption without enhancement. The activities typically take four to five weeks of class time to complete. They are very rich activities with significant student research, design and problem solving and other pedagogies very well implemented. Should the activities be closer to one week long, as some of the mini workshop activities were, teachers can more readily incorporate same into their existing program. We recommend that the first year activities be new ones, rather than existing ones recast in light of the pedagogies. Later, as the mini workshops attest, existing activities can be recast once the teachers have gained insight and understanding working with new activities that are not encumbered by past practice.

In the area of authentic assessment, we focused very importantly on portfolios, and while this is an important element of authentic assessment there are other areas, such as rubric design, that need attention. The rubric design has an effect on the activity, so it is an iterative process before the final activity and final rubric are determined. This will be covered in great detail in the NYSTEN extension. It would be an important pedagogy to include initially.

Derivative Benefits

In addition to accomplishing its goals, the NYSTEN project has also provided derivative benefits for mentors, school districts and the state. With the adoption by New York of the MST Frameworks, the science and math mentor networks were joined with NYSTEN to create the Network of networks to coordinate and share information. NYSTEN, being the only network with an MST focus, provided valuable information to the group. This also linked us with the state systemic initiative, the funding source for the Network of networks.

The NYSTEN mentors are a resource for other NYSED projects. For instance, several significantly contributed to the middle school MST assessment. The BOCES and school districts are using the mentors for running additional workshops and serving as leaders in modifying curriculum to meet the objectives of the MST Frameworks. One of the mentors guest lectured at SUNY Oswego to preservice teachers about MST activities and how they can be developed from technology activities. As mentioned earlier, NYSTEN mentors and the project staff have been able to assist SURR schools in NYC. NYSTEN mentors have become resources for other universities--one mentor has ties with Lehman College and their program in Literacy Studies and three mentors in Queens are a resource for their School of Education. In the application for Eisenhower funding for additional NYSTEN workshops, school districts wrote letters of support for their teachers and the project and appreciation for the enhancement that has occurred.

Dissemination/Resource

The IRG is a valuable resource for schools and teachers for implementing MST activities. It has become richer with the inclusion some of the mini-activities. The national dissemination teams, 61 teachers and administrators, from 16 states found the activities very exciting and the IRG a valuable asset. They will all receive updated versions in the fall of 1996. The mini-activities that are used as part of the extension in authentic assessment will be included in the IRG. In conjunction with NYSED and public television, a video was made highlighting the NYSTEN activities and mentors. This will be aired on public television and will be distributed to school districts and all NYSTEN mentors and the national dissemination teams. The Center for Technology Education at Hofstra will distribute the IRG's in the future. Lego-Dacta has embraced one of the computer controls activities, the Smart House, and created a version of its own that it is marketing. The CD-ROM that accompanies this sales effort will include excerpts from the IRG, reference the National Science Foundation, of course, and indicate where to obtain additional information at Hofstra. We are still searching for a publisher and hope by the spring of 1997 to have a contract for publishing all, or part, of the IRG. The Co-PI's and the project evaluator have made several presentations at national and international conferences regarding NYSTEN.

Summer 1996

The Appendix includes the calendar for the month, the listing of national dissemination team members, teachers in attendance during the third week and a listing of mini-activities used in the first week. July was a very busy and productive month from the NYSTEN perspective. Due to mentor interest, we started on Sunday July 7th with an optional advanced Internet session, featuring introduction to the html language and construction of home pages. The first two days featured sixteen mini-activities that mentors had revised in their schools with an Mst, mSt and msT focus. Mentors were able to attend four of their choosing. Tuesday evening featured sharing of work with one another as mentors displayed student projects and reported on MST activities that they created. Dr. Carol Rohheiser presented a day-long workshop on being a change agent in schools, particularly important if you want to continue the mst movement but are blocked by teachers and administrators. Training for those new to the Internet proved quite valuable, even mentors with some Internet experience gained a new insights into resources on the Web. Finally, the teams of math, science and technology teachers were led in exercises for seeking ways to find connect math and science with what had been previously viewed as single discipline activities.

The second week with the national dissemination teams was very lively. They were extremely interested in MST activities, many did not understand how possible it is to transition from traditional activities to interconnected ones. The workshops on grant writing was very much appreciated. Dr. Jane Liedtke returned to lead the teams through possible resources from foundations and other private sources as well as in what to include in a good proposal. The original intent for Thursday was to have Gerhard Salinger from NSF to give the NSF perspective and lead the teams in critiquing a preproposal. Unfortunately, circumstances prevented his attendance, so Mike Hacker and Dave Burghardt led the teams through the NSF guidelines with transparencies provided by Gerhard Salinger. In the afternoon session, teams were able to speak with Gerhard and Rod Cusler via telephone and an hour-long dialogue occurred. The teams were given the assignment to create a grant pre-proposal to be discussed the following morning. Thursday evening the vendor's display was well received and contacts made for future grant collaborations. Several excellent proposals were made on Friday morning. The final week had the state MST teams rotate through a one day workshop in each of the four IRG content areas. The teachers were enthusiastic, as one teacher from a SURR school wrote, "I came for $60 a day and received a Million Dollars".