ARRL Teachers Institutes Continue through Summer
The second and third sessions of the ARRL's Teachers Institute on Wireless Technology of 2009 are just about complete in Rocklin, California and Tucson, Arizona. These two TIs mark the first time that the ARRL has offered simultaneous sessions of the popular summer program for teachers. According to Education and Technology Program Coordinator Mark Spencer, WA8SME, the addition of two new TI instructors made it possible to hold two sessions at the same time. "With Miguel Enriquez, KD7RPP, and Nathan McCray, K9CPO, on board," Spencer said, "we are able to hold more sessions, and in turn, involve more teachers into learning how to bring wireless technology into their classrooms."
In Tucson, Enriquez is leading a group of local teachers through the four day curriculum that includes basic electronics, the science of radio, space in the classroom, microcontroller programming and basic robotics. "The Tucson Teachers Institute is progressing wonderfully," he told the ARRL. "I have seen lots of smiles, heads nodding in understanding and teachers espousing intended commitment to provide a return on investment."
Spencer is leading the other session group at the Parallax facility in Northern California. "This group is more geographically diverse," he said, "with teachers from nine states from coast to coast." McCray will lead a session in Michigan that begins on June 29.
Each Teachers Institute session includes 12 teachers. According to Spencer, the curriculum is information packed and intensive. "This year," Spencer said, "we tried to connect the teachers in the Tucson session with the teachers in the California session via an AO-27 contact; satellites are part of the space in the classroom unit. Unfortunately, this was not successful due to unforeseen complications with accessing the satellite; however, a later attempt to demonstrate ham radio space technology was successful."
The final day of the Teachers Institute is dedicated to basic robotics; this unit ties together all of the other content areas taught during the Teachers Institute. There are five more Teachers Institutes scheduled over the next two months. Spencer said that "the aggressive schedule and increased number of teachers participating this year -- 84 -- is testament to the success of this ARRL Educational and Technology program that is supported by the generous League donors who share a passion for education."