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ARRL's "Big Project" Makes a Big Impact on Youth

08/08/2008

Since 2001 when the Education & Technology Program - also known as the "Big Project" -- started, ARRL has expanded the scope of its educational outreach programs by providing grants of station equipment and instructional resources for professional development to more than 300 schools (with more schools added each year). The Education & Technology Program has expanded the highly successful teacher development program in electronics, robotics and space -- the Teachers Institute on Wireless Technology.

From humble beginnings in 2003, a single gathering of 12 educators came together at ARRL Headquarters became the Teachers Institute, with the goal to promote wireless technology literacy. Since then, the Teachers Institute has provided teachers from elementary schools to the university level with the basic tools and teaching strategies to introduce the science of radio, space technology, weather, microcontroller basics and robotics in their classrooms. In 2008, the Teachers Institute program has expanded to six four-day sessions that now include ATV and radio astronomy, more hands-on instruction of project kits -- such as a seismometer, a 24-hour clock and A BOT Instructor's Board -- to enhance the teachers' ability to instruct basic robotics, a fox-hunt activity and satellite contacts.

Each year, the League receives gratifying reports from the schools that participate in the Education & Technology Program. The schools tell us that the resources we offer are bearing fruit -- both in terms of licensing students and teachers and engaging them in wireless technology, both in the classroom and in after-school activities.

"The Education & Technology Program is truly one of ARRL's most significant projects," said ARRL Chief Development Officer Mary Hobart, K1MMH. "The contributions of ARRL members make a direct connection to teachers and their students, opening the door to Amateur Radio and other exciting areas of science."

Interested members can make contributions to the ARRL Education & Technology Program by phone, mail or on the



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