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Posted on June 26, 2012

Three educators from California University of Pennsylvania will present innovative approaches to STEM education at JOSTI 2012, the annual Jefferson Overseas Schools Technology Institute sponsored by the U.S. State Department’s Office of Overseas Schools.

Michael Amrhein, director for the Office of Outreach and Integration for TEAMS (Technology, Engineering, Art, Math and Science) at Cal U; Dr. Stephen Whitehead, of the Department of Applied Engineering and Technology; and Christopher Allen, a graduate student in Cal U’s Master of Arts Teaching program, will make presentations at the institute set for June 25-29 at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.

The Office of Overseas Schools promotes high-quality K-12 educational opportunities for dependents of American citizens who are carrying out U.S. government programs and interests abroad.

  • Amrhein will discuss “Formula 1 in Schools,” a multidisciplinary challenge and international competition for students age 9-19. Formula 1 competitors use computer-aided design software to design, build and race miniature gas-powered, balsa wood cars.

    “Through the excitement of international motorsports, the challenge inspires students to use computer technology to learn about physics, aerodynamics, design, manufacturing, branding, graphics, marketing, leadership, teamwork, media skills and financial strategy,” Amrhein says.

    The presentation is part of Amrhein’s work with the Wexford-based SAE Foundation, the U.S. sponsor of Formula 1 in Schools and a leader in supporting science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.
  • Whitehead and Allen will present “Mobile Devices for Engagement in K-9 Classrooms," which demonstrates how mobile applications and handheld digital devices, such as the iPod Touch, can be used to motivate students, reinforce teaching and enrich learning.

    Their joint presentation highlights two examples: how students in grades K-5 learn about ancient Egypt through the Britannica Kids: Ancient Egypt app; and how middle school students learn STEM principles by using the iPod Touch to research, design and build a Rube-Goldberg-style contraption.