Arkansas Summer High School Research Program Application Deadline Approaching

April 7, 2011

One of the summer programs that I have been involved with since its inception is the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s (UALR) High School Research Program (HSRP).  I mentioned HSRP in previous posts on this blog.

This year, Arkansas 9th through 12th grade students have the opportunity to work directly with UALR faculty and students on a variety of ground-breaking research projects in the following areas:

  • Computer and Information Science
    • Scientific Programming on High Performance Computing Systems
    • Sensitivity-Aware Secure Communications in Wireless Sensor Networks
    • Data Structures and Algorithms
    • Model of Facial Parameter Extraction and Animation
    • Step by Step introducing Scratch Programming
    • Creating a Twitter “Mood Ring”
  • Engineering
    • Fabrication of MEMS-Based Piezoelectric Sensors
    • Photovoltaic Solar Power Systems
  • Applied Science
    • Dynamic object following by a mobile robot
    • Mobile robot position estimation using a laser rangefinder
    • 3D imaging sensor for mobile robot navigation
  • Biology and Chemistry
    • Exploring the effect of pH homeostasis on life span extension
    • Carbon-based Nanomaterials for Nanophotonics and Optical Biosensing
    • Synthesis and characterization of amide based iron or manganese complexes for activation
      of hydrogen peroxide and oxygen

Vernard Henley, Program Director, shared the following details about the program:

The objective of the HSRP is to engage academic high achievers in a focused research environment by proactively mentoring them and helping them make informed choices on appropriate course work during their high school years for pursuing future careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. In addition, the program provides informal peer mentoring by engaging students in faculty research projects, allowing high school students to establish early contact with college students and professors in specific areas of their interest. A list of available projects is attached.

The supervised residential camp is provided at no charge to students who are accepted to this competitive program.  The HSRP runs July 10 – 29, 2011.  Applications must be postmarked by April 22.

For complete details, please review the full projects list, the application, or contact Vernard Henley. at (501)569-8203.

K-12 Computing Teachers Equity Workshop Scholarship Applications Open

April 6, 2011

I’m passing along details about the CSTA/ABI Equity Conference Scholarships.  I attended the first of these, and I presented as part of a panel discussion last year.  If you are interested in attending, CSTA and ABI have received grant money to provide travel assistance described below, but you must act fast.

Applications are now being accepted for the 2011 K-12 Computing Teachers Workshop.  The workshop will be held at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference (GHC) in Portland, Oregon on November 11-12, 2011.  The K-12 workshop is hosted in Partnership with the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) and the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology (ABI) and will be the third K-12 teachers workshop held at the GHC.  We hope that this year’s theme “Extending Our Reach: New Tools for Engaging all Students” will provide for a fun and engaging workshop.

For details, reference the workshop agenda. Space is limited for the workshop. Teachers who wish to participate in the workshop and apply for a scholarship to support their travel costs must submit an application.  The deadline to apply is May 1, 2011. All applicants will be notified on June 15, 2011.

Registration for the workshop is $40 and includes Grace Hopper Conference activities.  Registration costs will be waived for teachers who are awarded a scholarship to help support their travel costs.  Scholarship awards (to be reimbursed after the conference) include shared hotel for 2 nights, airfare, ground transportation, mileage or gas up to the amount of the travel award. Participants who live less than 1 hour from the conference hotel will not receive hotel accommodations as part of their scholarship and are not eligible to be reimbursed for hotel expenses.

Social Networking for Professional Educators

November 12, 2010

Looking over the 2010 update to the National Educational Technology Plan, I’m excited to see that the authors recognize and promote the value of social networking technologies in education. The community of teachers and learners that I connect with through sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Linked In is in the thousands. The value that instant access to these folks brings is incalculable.

One of the recommendations is that professional educators

Leverage social networking technologies and platforms to create communities of
practice that provide career-long personal learning opportunities for educators within and across schools, preservice preparation and in-service educational institutions, and professional organizations.

The report goes on…

Social networks can be used to provide educators with career-long personal learning tools and resources that make professional learning timely and relevant as well as an ongoing activity that continually improves practice and evolves their skills over time. Online communities should enable educators to take online courses, tap into experts and best practices for just-in-time problem solving, and provide platforms and tools for educators to design and develop resources with and for their colleagues.

Unfortunately, my current institution is blind to the value that comes from access to such resources. Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, and many other sites are blocked for employees on some network segments. Where we can reach these resources, we have been warned very sternly not to. Consider this message from my institution’s president about sites such as Facebook:

Beginning tomorrow, we are asking our IT Department to give us lists of all [college] employees who are on these and other social networks. In turn, we will contact those employees and require that they submit to their supervisors and then to their up line vice president a written justification for this use and a detailed business purpose for it. Then, by reference to this memo, we are requesting that our IT department conduct random checks each week of employees logged into social network sites and these employees will be contacted and required to submit to their supervisors and then to their up line vice president a written justification for this use and a detailed business purpose for it. Most use of social networks by employees cannot be justified by a business purpose and is classified as personal use which is prohibited.

How do your schools treat social media? What approaches have you used to soften the stance of an otherwise progressive administration on this issue? Is this a battle worth fighting?

I’d better sign off before the Gestapo find out that I’ve been blogging… If you wish to reach me at work, I’d recommend sending a fax.

PS:  This blog post came out after I wrote this entry.  It’s a perfect example of how professional educators are using social media.  Give it a read.