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Abstract

This paper summarizes the efforts related to, and outcomes from, the development and implementation of a 3-day long transportation systems-based summer academy for teachers. It also includes lessons learned and suggestions for the adoption of this program in other settings.

The academy utilized an experiential learning process to alert, engage, attract, and excite teachers in pre-collegiate (K-12) systems to adopting “authentic” transportation systems (engineering and beyond) contexts to facilitate learning. It also provides teachers first-hand experiences about educational and career opportunities in transportation. It facilitates collaborative learning, the development of professional networks, and peer-support groups.

The program includes brief ‘in-class’ overviews of transportation systems, logistics and supply chain management, followed by 2 days of site/field visits to a variety of real-life settings such a state Department of Transportation (DOT) Traffic Management Center, an air-traffic control tower, a commercial airport and airfield, a traffic signal systems laboratory, a crash-reconstruction study site, and a driving simulator.

Based on these experiences, the teachers develop lesson plans and related materials for use in curricular, co-curricular, and extra-curricular activities. This case-based approach provides real-world concepts to formulate lessons and learning experiences for students. The literature documents the importance of such authentic learning approaches to foster deep learning of concepts and methods, especially in STEM disciplines. The participants work collaboratively to develop transportation themed instructional units for use in classrooms. They are provided guidance by curriculum design experts and peer teachers to develop authentic learning experiences that support established curricular skills and standards in STEM disciplines and other subject areas. They collaborate in work sessions to develop frameworks for transportation themed lesson plans for subsequent use.

Twenty teachers were selected to attend the academy workshop that was held in mid-July 2014. Participants received a certificate for professional development activities. These participants were provided a nominal stipend. Of these participants, nine were selected to join a cohort for the purpose of developing high-quality transportation themed lesson plans for online publication to enable broad distribution globally. This cohort is presently working collaboratively with a transportation engineering professor, a curriculum development professor, and peer mentors to fully develop lessons, field test them in their classrooms, and to modify them for online publication. This subgroup will be provided an additional stipend for completing these activities. These activities are to be completed by December 2014.

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2015-08-29
2019-11-13
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