What's Being Done to Inspire Youth Interest in Science?

33 States to Share Lessons Learned After 4 Years Of NSF Funding

ARLINGTON, Va., Jan. 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Education Development Center (EDC) will host educators from 33 states who have cultivated youth interest in science and technology, to share their strategies after four years in a $73 million program funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Participants in the Information Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program will talk about their projects and experiences at a symposium February 6-8, along with policymakers and research and business leaders interested in boosting youth interest in science-related careers.


ITEST is a key player in realizing NSF's goal to produce more science and technology-savvy kids to fill the looming shortage of qualified workers. The program reaches 108,000 students and 3,800 teachers in grades 6-12, through projects in schools, universities, after-school programs, museums, and other community settings. To support these efforts and disseminate lessons learned through the program, NSF also funds the ITEST Learning Resource Center at EDC.

"Political leaders, policy makers and educators see evidence every day of the urgent need to ensure that students have the necessary science and technology skills to keep the U.S. competitive in the 21st century," said EDC's Joyce Malyn-Smith who directs the Resource Center. "As other countries are developing the skills needed to compete globally, we are finding ways to attract young people and build their skills for a bright future in these fields."


    Among the ways ITEST is inspiring student interest:

* In Philadelphia, 270 young people -- girls, Hispanics, and African-
Americans -- are learning cartographic and design skills in a bilingual
setting to create community maps with GIS tools.

* In indigenous communities in northeastern Alaska, 375 teachers and 5,100

students are using several technologies, including numerical modeling
software, to study local effects of climate change.

* On the California coast, 120 middle and high school students are
tracking whales and dolphins on the open sea, using digital recording
equipment to study their acoustic behavior.

* In rural Montana, 60 teachers and their students, including Native
American youth, are employing geospatial technologies to share new
discoveries about the fossil record of the Northern Plains.

* In Honolulu, 400 young people are creating electronic adaptive devices
to meet the needs of people with disabilities and the elderly in their


"In today's global economy, we must do all we can to see that all our citizens have the best possible education. Guaranteeing that our talented youth have the opportunity to succeed, especially in the critical fields of science, math, technology and engineering, is vital to our nation's future," said Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) who is scheduled to address the symposium.

The symposium begins Tuesday, February 6th at 12 noon at the Westin Arlington Gateway Hotel, Arlington, VA. To listen live or participate via the Internet: http://www.edc.org/itestlrc. To attend the event in person, contact Dorothea Wheeler at 617-618-2136 or Email Contact.

Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) is an international non-profit organization with projects in 50 countries that advance learning and healthy development for individuals of all ages. The ITEST Learning Resource Center is a project of EDC's Education, Employment, and Community Programs' Workforce and Human Development Group, which builds inclusive public-private partnerships, education-to-employment systems, and supports information communication technology (ICT) fluency for all learners. Visit http://www.edc.org.

Web site: http://www.edc.org/

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