National Institute of STEM Education Partners to Improve Teaching

(Photo: Jeffrey Betts, Creative Commons)

(Photo: Jeffrey Betts, Creative Commons)

The number of U.S. schools launching science, technology, engineering and mathematics ( STEM) courses has been increasing, and teachers are now looking for fast and efficient ways to enhance or build their STEM teaching abilities. NISE, The National Institute for STEM Education, has teamed up with one of the pioneers in higher education assessment, Chalk & Wire, to satisfy teachers' needs.

The new collaboration provides educators with a digital portfolio tool that helps them strengthen their competencies in all the fifteen teacher actions required for establishing a successful STEM classroom.

NISE has integrated Chalk & Wire's digital portfolio tool with its self-paced and competency-based National Certificate for STEM Teaching, writes Joshua Bolkan of The Journal. Teachers will work closely with an academic coach to increase their knowledge in 15 core STEM actions across three main domains: Creating an Environment for Learning, Building Scientific Understanding and Engaging Students in Science and Engineering Practices. The built-in e-portfolio tool allows the educators to produce and submit portfolio artifacts for certifications.

Because the National Certificate for STEM Teaching is competency-based, experienced teachers do not have to attend traditional classes and read materials they already mastered. Instead, with the help of their personalized digital portfolio, they can easily prove their knowledge and focus only on those STEM actions they have yet to improve or build.

Vernon Johnson, president and CEO of Accelerate Learning, which announced the establishment of NISE in May, commented:

"This not only saves time, but it allows teachers to put quickly into practice the actions that are essential to creating effective STEM classrooms that increase student achievement."

Geoff Irvine, CEO of Chalk & Wire, added:

"Chalk & Wire is pleased to work with the National Institute for STEM Education on this endeavor to strengthen STEM teaching by offering comprehensive, competency-based certification programs."

A group of skilled academics and information technologists established Chalk & Wire at the Communications Research Centre in Ottawa, Canada in 1995. The company turned into one of the market leaders in the field of web-based learner assessment, reporting, and multiple-level analysis, according to the official website. Chalk & Wire has been helping universities prove student abilities and improve the evaluation of learning outcomes significantly for the past 20 years. The company takes into consideration the specific needs of the institution and it helps with the accreditation management, assessment system design options, their implementation, and their impact on campus culture.

Accelerate Learning was founded in cooperation with Rice University. The company is a leading provider of digital resources in pre-K12 STEM education nationwide, reads its official website. It also offers STEM coach professional development courses as well as diverse STEM certification programs. Last month it raised $10 million in Series A funding from Owl Ventures.

Headquartered in Houston, NISE uses a digital online learning platform to offer a wide range of STEM certification programs for individual educators, campuses or districts. All its programs are self-paced and competency-based, which allows the participants to get familiar with skills needed to create effective STEM classrooms and increase students' performances in class.

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