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GK-12 Graduate Teaching Fellowships
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

All of the fellows view the teaching experience as insightful and a wonderful way to “round out” their graduate research experience. One fellow who had no previous teaching experience was concerned about his ability to teach undergraduate courses. He took seriously the required instructional methods seminars and is now not only a superb educator, but also understands why he is successful and how to replicate that success. Collegiality with other fellows, faculty, and teachers is important for a number of reasons including learning about tools and methods in other disciplines and finding innovative ways to apply them in their own discipline. When fellows were introduced to the National Center for Supercomputing Applications-developed visualization tools, GIS, and Stella modeling software, they not only developed content-based materials for their teacher partners, but they also began to think of ways they could use the tools themselves to help display and present their own research. Finally, graduate fellows now have a solid understanding of their responsibility and ability to contribute to K-12 education. Besides being phenomenal role models with valuable and current content expertise and an awareness of easily accessible tools, they are also now capable of bringing these assets to their teacher partners in ways that are appropriate for the classroom. One civil engineering fellow introduced modeling and visualization tools to a partner teacher who had never used any kind of technology in the classroom. That teacher is now redesigning his geology curriculum; the students have gone from being bored and non-responsive to saying things like, “I love Geology!”

Project URL: http://gk12-uiuc.net

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