Conference planning began nearly a year ago as a collaborative initiative between the Institute for Translational Research in the University of Hartford’s College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions (ENHP) and the College’s community anchor partners, the Hartford Public School System and Saint Francis Care. STEM leadership from East Hartford Public Schools soon became involved and the Connecticut Science Center provided a fabulous venue for the conference. On Monday, September 24, 2012, nearly 300 Connecticut educators gathered for a day of stimulating STEM presentations, demonstrations, and discussions.
The STEM Conference was a strong demonstration of the collaboration that epitomizes the partnership between the Hartford Public School System and the University of Hartford’s College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions (ENHP). Both the Hartford Public Schools and ENHP are committed to the Hartford community and to educating its children. I met many Hartford area teachers, and teachers met university faculty, science center professional development providers, people from Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology (CCAT), the Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA) and Connecticut professionals working in STEM careers. It was a very successful event to improve professional practice and to increase the connections between all these important “STEM” players. John Tapper - Tapper is an assistant professor of education in ENHP and served on the conference planning committee.
Conference presentations focused on teaching, practice, and research. Generally they related to one of the following strands:
Conference participants listened to keynote Stephen Hegedus speak on Creativity in School: Math, Identity, and Motivation. Hegedus is the Director of the Kaput Center for Research and Innovation in STEM Education at UMASS/Dartmouth. They could select three presentations from among 24 options and participate in an informal lunch and learn session networking with Connecticut professionals in STEM-related business, industry, and education. I felt that the day was an engaging start into opening up the discussion statewide as to what a rigorous STEM education looks like. …opportunities to attend conferences like the one this week, where likeminded educators can discuss, develop, and share ideas are critical for all of our success. I personally attended workshops on the development of interdisciplinary STEM units of study, classroom applications of prosthetics and orthotics, and classroom applications of DNA fingerprinting and found each one of them to be very forward thinking. Keith Sevigny - Sevigny is the 2012 Hartford Teacher of the Year and a science teacher at Annie Fisher STEM Magnet School.
excited by new ideas for their organization.