STEM Certificate Program
STEM Certificate Program Overview
In 2013, the Christa McAuliffe Center partnered with PTC Inc., a global product development software company based out of Needham, to offer a STEM Certificate Program in Massachusetts for in-service K-12 teachers. This program focuses on providing teacher professional development services in integrated STEM education, curriculum development, and technology integration. Throughout the course of the program teachers develop an integrated STEM unit tailored to their classroom instruction, learn about STEM fields in industry, familiarize themselves with engineering and design software, collaborate with educators from various grade-levels and subject-areas, and gain an in-depth awareness of project-based learning approaches that integrate multiple subject-areas, especially engineering.
This program, available for both graduate credits as well as professional development points, is divided into two formal phases – the foundations phase and the authoring phase – followed by the alumni phase in which program alumni are encouraged to connect and collaborate through a variety of different opportunities. You can find more detailed descriptions of each phase below. To visit the national STEM Certificate Program website, click here
The program is offered twice per calendar year. More details about the individual offerings can be found here.
This phase provides teachers with the opportunity to explore industry STEM practices and technologies - PTC provides a 3D design software donation worth approximately $50K to each registered participant – related to product development, test student curriculum materials, and share best practices in project-based learning with an emphasis on integrated STEM education.
Program instruction is delivered in a blended learning format including face-to-face workshops and online, synchronous webinars using industry web conferencing tools. Participants have the option to enroll for 3.0 graduate credits for this phase.
This phase focuses on training teachers to develop their own curriculum. Using the Explore-Create-Share pedagogy model, teachers develop an integrated STEM unit that scaffolds project-based learning and industry approaches to product development. In addition to receiving support from both PTC and FSU staff, former teachers in the program have been hired as Teacher Fellows who provide mentoring during the authoring phase.
Similar to the Foundation Phase, instruction is delivered in face-to-face workshops, synchronous webinars, and offline web support. Participants have the option to enroll for 2.0 graduate credits for this phase.
In this phase, program alumni are provided access to an online STEM repository which includes each curriculum unit developed by teachers in the program. In some cases, the Christa McAuliffe Center also provides alumni an opportunity to propose and participate in add-on workshops centered on STEM and related education content.
Starting in 2014, alumni from the program and local partners will participate in an annual Integrated STEM symposium in Massachusetts. At the Symposium participants will exchange best practices and network with one another.
For more information and frequently asked questions about the STEM Certificate Program, please visit our FAQ page.
Sign Up for Our Newsletter
On September 26 from 4-6pm, the Christa McAuliffe Center will host the grand opening reception for a special exhibit of images like the one at the right, commissioned by NASA Headquarters in Washington D.C., which celebrates the 15-year anniversary of one of NASA's Great Observatories, the Chandra X-Ray Observatory. This grand opening is free to educators and will include the Chandra exhibit and a special planetarium presentation.
October 22: MA STEM Summit will be held in Worcester for educators, policy makers, government and business representatives from all over the state. The Christa McAuliffe Center will present a session entitled, "Connecting Classroom Strategies to Real World STEM through an Integrated Learning Approach."
October 25: The 1st Annual Integrated STEM Symposium will be hosted at Framingham State University and is open to all STEM Certificate Program alumni. Keynote address will be delivered by PTC Inc. CEO Jim Heppelmann, and breakout sessions and other interactive sessions will be included.