The vision of the Teaching Through Technologies (T3) Alliance is to provide a replicable, adaptable, and scalable curriculum and a comprehensive support mechanism that can be widely adapted to increase the STEM interest and engagement of high school students from underrepresented minority groups. The project focuses on three emerging technological areas related to codeable digital devices (Raspberry Pi), 3D printing, and autonomous systems (land, air, and water) instruction, and robust interactive communication will enable instructors and students to 1) exchange current activities and ideas across sites; 2) collaborate on problem-solving challenges; 3) discover STEM fields and career paths; 4) access robust instructor training and support; and 5) establish two-way communication with STEM career professionals and societies. The program will be led by the University of Alaska Fairbanks program and close partnership with the Council for Opportunities in Education and Educating4Leadership. The project plans to engage 36 Upward Bound sites in 18 EPSCoR jurisdictions. By engaging the students in hands-on technical learning and enabling them to apply this knowledge in a service project of relevance to their communities, the project will encourage the students to pursue STEM study and careers further.
How does T3 Alliance work?
As the need and demand for technically skilled workforce increase to meet the technological advances of the 21st-century life, it is essential to attract and sustain the interest of youth, especially those from groups that are traditionally underrepresented in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). This award from the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) aims to engage pre-college students from under-represented minority groups as well as prospective first-generation college students in an after-school and intensive summer programs and train them in three emerging technologies – unmanned systems (aerial, sea, land), 3D printers, and code-able digital devices. The Teaching through Technologies (T3) Alliance program will recruit instructors and students from the nationally well-established Upward Bound sites and provide them the needed online and in-person support to adopt a curriculum detailing the scientific background and hands-on use of these three technologies. In addition to the technological instruction, students will also receive guidance in STEM communication and leadership and will participate in a team or individual service project in which their new skills can be used to address and solve an issue of relevance to their local community using the acquired technical knowledge. Over the three years of the project, it is expected that 360 or more underrepresented minority, low-income, and first-generation-to-college students from 36 institutions of higher education in 18 EPSCoR jurisdictions will be engaged in this project.