teachHOUSTON STEM Interactive: STEM Accessible Worldwide
teachHOUSTON is the University of Houston’s STEM teacher preparation program. When COVID-19 hit, the teachHOUSTON directors knew it would affect the opportunity for students to engage in STEM over the summer - so they got creative and designed the teachHOUSTON STEM Interactive (tHSI) which transformed the idea of what teaching and learning during a pandemic could be. With COVID impacting STEM teaching and learning for the foreseeable future, teachHOUSTON enlisted the help of undergraduate and graduate students from the college and provided them with valuable experience, as interns, preparing and teaching lessons online. Utilizing these preservice and in-service teachers, as well as teachHOUSTON faculty and STEM experts, they hosted tHSI, a three-week, virtual STEM experience for students going into sixth through ninth grade that was largely funded by an NSF Noyce Grant.
Students participated in interactive mini-lessons, science experiments, prototyping, and engineering design challenges. The interns prepared and taught lessons via Zoom and gained nearly 400 teaching hours and the confidence needed to facilitate their own virtual classrooms. tHSI addressed issues of access by designing and implementing virtual programming, sharing lessons, and creating a webpage for those videos to live long after tHSI was complete.
In the end, tHSI’s Facebook page welcomed 1107 participants and garnered over 9,000 posts and comments in just 21 days. In addition, the online experience was accessed by more than 3,000 students from various countries so, while the name "teachHOUSTON" encompasses one area, the impact of tHSI was global.
NSF Awards: 1557309
Presented in: 2021 (see original presentation & discussion)