Feb. 6-7 math, science conference focuses on ‘acti...

Feb. 6-7 math, science conference focuses on ‘active learning’

Dr. Thomas Smith

Dr. Thomas Smith

About 100 educators from across Tennessee and around the nation will pursue “Active Learning” Thursday and Friday, Feb. 6-7, during the eighth annual Tennessee STEM Education Research Conference at Murfreesboro’s DoubleTree Hotel, 1850 Old Fort Parkway, in Murfreesboro

Event director Tom Cheatham of the Tennessee STEM Education Center on the MTSU campus said the ultimate goal of the conference will be “to engage (K-20) students in the learning process” in math and science.

Three keynote speakers — J. Tod Fethering and Drs. Thomas Smith and Jennifer Lewis — were scheduled Feb. 6.

Smith, director of the National Center on Scaling Up Effective Schools, planned to discuss “How Can We Improve the Teaching Quality of Beginning Middle School Mathematics Teachers?” in his early afternoon keynote. Smith also is associate professor of public policy and education with Peabody College at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

Dr. Jennifer Lewis

Dr. Jennifer Lewis

Lewis, associate professor of chemistry education at the University of South Florida in Tampa, was scheduled to discuss “Process-Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning: What it is and Can it Work?” during her mid-afternoon address.

Fethering, chairman and founder of Nashville-based Stratasan, planned to discuss “Educate to Innovate” during the dinner and STEM business keynote address.

Fethering’s talk was expected to touch on the opportunities in today’s workforce for STEM careers.

“All areas of STEM are growing in demand, but the pipeline of qualified candidates is limited,” he said in a summary of his presentation. “We will discuss three ways communities and our education system can transform the workforce before 2020.”

J. Tod Fethering

J. Tod Fethering

A Tennessee government panel that includes David Williams and Wesley Hall and Dr. David Sevier was a late-afternoon feature on the opening day of the conference.

Williams is math coordinator with the Tennessee Department of Education. Sevier serves as deputy director of the Tennessee Board of Education. Hall is director of engagement with the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network.

Various breakout sessions will highlight Friday’s conclusion to the conference. Topics will include “Active Learning Research” and “Diversity in STEM Education,” among others.

In addition to MTSU faculty members, other schools being represented in the breakout sessions include East Carolina University of Greenville, N.C., Pope John Paul II High School in Hendersonville, Tenn., North Side Elementary School in Johnson City, Tenn., Knowledge Academies Inc. in Antioch, Tenn., Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, the University of Memphis, East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Lipscomb University in Nashville and Austin Peay State University in Clarksville.

Conference sponsors include Mind2Marketplace, Microsoft, the Tennessee Space Grant Consortium, the University of Tennessee Institute for Public Service and the MTSU Office of Research Services.

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