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PBS TeacherLine Offers INSPIRE's 'Inspire Elementary Students with Engineering' Course

Posted Dec 21, 2010
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Inspire Elementary Students with Engineering, a new online professional development course from PBS TeacherLine, helps pre-K-6 grade teachers build on their subject-area knowledge while learning innovative instructional strategies they can immediately apply in the classroom to teach engineering concepts. Teachers learn how to provide students with an early foundation in engineering through standards-based science and math curriculum, and to develop students' critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. The course was developed by the Institute for P-12 Engineering Research and Learning (INSPIRE) within the Purdue University School of Engineering Education, and is now open for enrollment for the Winter 2010-11 term.

Recent international assessments show that U.S. student performance in science and math is lackluster compared to other developed nations, and the number of engineers graduating from U.S. colleges and universities continues to decline, according to the announcement. Schools can reverse these trends through high-quality instruction, and integrating engineering lessons into core curriculum at the elementary level. A growing number of research studies show interest in engineering needs to be fostered in the early years to inspire more students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, and to better prepare students with the tools and skills needed for success in the digital age.

Inspire Elementary Students with Engineering helps teachers understand the engineering design process and the development of a "model eliciting activity," an instructional strategy for effectively integrating hands-on, problem-solving engineering lessons into the classroom. During the 30-hour, two-credit course, teachers design an original model eliciting activity that aligns with their curriculum, and pilot it in the classroom with their students. Teachers can earn graduate credit from Purdue University, continuing education units, or professional development points for course completion.

INSPIRE developed the new online professional development course based on its research and evidence-based curriculum in engineering education. The Institute selected PBS TeacherLine to deliver the course nationally through its online, facilitator-led model for teacher professional development. PBS TeacherLine courses provide a collaborative learning environment for teachers to hone their knowledge and skills and to gain practical instructional strategies and multimedia resources they can use in the classroom. Facilitators guide educators through the courses and foster a supportive professional learning network that teachers rely on after they've completed the courses.

The first offering of Inspire Elementary Students with Engineering is in the Winter term, now open for enrollment. Courses begin Jan. 26, 2011. For more information or to enroll, visit

Source: PBS TeacherLine,

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