The Fluor Foundation has given a $20,000 gift to the College of Education at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) to support the college’s Transforming Teaching and Learning Through Technology (T2L2T) Program.
T2L2T is a professional development model that focuses on supporting teachers in their first three years in the classroom to strengthen their understanding of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) content and strategies.
“Teachers are the foundation of a strong STEM education to prepare our future engineers and scientists,” said DeeDee Rosenthal, senior community relations coordinator for Fluor, Southern California, and an alumna of CSULB (B.A., recreation and leisure studies, 1986). “Fluor is proud to be a partner at the ground level of the Transforming Teaching and Learning through Technology Program and to be a part of building this strong foundation.”
Rosenthal added that the T2L2T program aligns with the Fluor Foundation’s focus on STEM education and the importance of providing teachers with the training and professional development in STEM.
T2L2T focuses on beginning elementary science and math teachers and their use of technology to support teaching innovation. The program incorporates a three-unit course taught in a hybrid format with online and face-to-face components. Stephen Adams, CSULB’s coordinator of educational technology and media leadership and associate professor of advanced studies in education and counseling, developed the course through a grant from Google. He is teaching the course for the first time this spring. Tuition for the teachers is covered by grant support.
During the T2L2T course, teachers learn to identify technologies that align with their fields of interest, develop and refine ways of using these technologies in their teaching, and then begin integrating the new technologies into their classrooms. The course emphasizes the use of free software and open educational resources. It utilizes a set of videos from innovative thinkers in the field as well as extensive resources including science and math resources from the Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching platform.
“The program also encourages collaboration and utilizes social networking tools for peer networking and collaboration,” Adams explained. “Importantly, the course serves not as an endpoint for instruction but as a catalyst for change—change that includes ongoing teacher professional development practices and peer support.”
The overall program is part of a longer-term vision to develop sustainable online professional learning communities throughout California that will encourage teachers to become innovative leaders in the use of technology in STEM instruction.
CSULB College of Education Dean Marquita Grenot-Scheyer said a pilot study is underway to refine the approach and assist in plans to expand the T2L2T project. The innovative technology applications learned through the course will afford possibilities for transformative pedagogical practices and provide teachers with the specialized skills, knowledge, and the support they need to bring their innovative ideas into the classroom.
“We are extremely grateful to the Fluor Foundation for recognizing the importance of our efforts to produce the next generation of teachers who will be prepared and confident in their ability to teach the Next Generation Science Standards,” Grenot-Scheyer said. “Their students will be the future engineers, scientists, mathematicians, artists and teachers. We greatly appreciate the Fluor Foundation for its investment in the future and their understanding of and commitment to the important role that elementary teachers have in preparing the next generation of students for careers in STEM fields.”