Local teachers bring new science to Williams
Students to learn new, cutting edge technology
WILLIAMS - Technology continues to grow at an astounding rate, as does its use in many scientific disciplines, creating new fields to work in with completely new skill sets.
Larry Gutshall and Mike Fleishman, both teachers at Williams High School, plan to teach their students some of these new job skills.
Gutshall and Fleishman will be taking part in The Northern Arizona Power of Data (POD) project offered jointly by the Center for Science Teaching and Learning at Northern Arizona University (CSTL) and the Coconino Association for Vocation, Industry and Technology (Caviat).
The POD project is designed to teach students, and their instructors, how to use Geo-Spatial Technology, a technology that combines math and science concepts with the use of global positioning systems to collect data and software to analyze the data.
"I've seen some of the programming that goes along with this and it's pretty powerful. This is going to be based around geology and specifically earthquakes and testing," said Gutshall.
A team of one secondary CTE teacher and one science or math teacher from the same school must apply together. Each participant will receive a $1,000 stipend, online and on-site program support, the option of graduate credit, Global Information Technology software site licenses, data collection devices, and textbooks for use in the classroom.
Lori Hare, Professional Development Associate at Northern Arizona University, said the program is funded by Science Foundation Arizona and is a math and science achievement grant. High school teachers will participate in several weekend institutes where they will learn earth science content through geo-spatial technology.
"So, they'll actually be learning Earth science content but also learning how to use geographic information system software," Hare said. "Once they learn how to use it, they will receive a site license for their school along with books and other materials that will help them to use that same technology in their classrooms."
The teachers will experience a lesson, or module, and then implement it in their classroom. Hare said an example of one of the modules might be looking at geologic hazards at a global or national level and looking for patterns and information to analyze. After understanding the geologic problem, the students will look to apply what they've learned locally.
"Then, they're going to go into their own backyards, collecting data and information at their school site to see if there might be a mass wasting hazard possibility," Hare said. "So for example they might look at soil type, slope, aspect, and hill shade. They will have learned how those things might cause landslides or a flood."
As an example, Hare suggested students at Williams High School might choose to investigate geological issues related to building the school buildings on the former site of the Saginaw Sawmill built in 1893. When the new vocational building was built, sawdust was dug out in order to stabilize the ground.
The program is brand new this year. Gutshall and Fleishman will begin meeting Nov. 20, once a month for a total of 60 hours of training, to learn and develop the teaching skills necessary to implement the program in their classrooms. Once they begin teaching the curriculum, CSTL representatives will visit the classroom twice to provide additional support and assistance.
Gutshall said the program provides an opportunity for students to learn cutting edge skills.
"The instruction will teach us how to use the equipment and then we'll bring it to school and make projects where we have students doing the projects at our home site. We're teaching kids employable skills and also just teaching science," he said.
Hare confirmed that learning the new technology puts students a step ahead of the competition when entering the new job fields that are developing. She said Caviat has helped to recruit teachers for the program.
"They are really pushing the idea of getting kids these skills because working in Global Information Technology is a hot new field," she said. "If kids have some basic skills in GIS, they can go out and get a job over someone with a degree that doesn't know how to use this technology. It's happening. So, we're focusing on workforce skills for the career and technical education students."